Research by: Sandeep Puri
As educators, we use numerous pedagogies to engage our students, encourage deep thinking, and help build complete understanding—we design, implement, facilitate, and enact curriculum. The case method is a widely used education tool that puts students in front and center of the learning process. In business studies, it brings a piece of the real world into the classroom to facilitate elevated thinking skills among students, develop a deeper understanding of business problems, and arrive at better solutions. In the 1950s, Professor Paul Lawrence referred to a good case as “the vehicle by which a chunk of reality is brought into the classroom to be worked over by the class and instructor”. Most teachers and professional schools recommend and use the case method, which helps bridge this theory-practice gap by encouraging and stimulating involved and intensive learning, helping teachers gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of a real-life situation, and empowering student-teachers to apply their expertise and theoretical knowledge to a practical problem. The case method is an interactive, participative, and discussion-based way of learning, which enables the teacher and the student to experience the complexities, ambiguities, and uncertainties of the protagonists of the case. The teacher steers the discussion, and the students assess the dilemma in real-life business cases, analyzing, arriving at a solution to the problem, and finally discussing it. This method helps students gain a 360-degree perspective of the problem through critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. In a case-based class, the focus may not as much be on the instructor as on the students, with the instructor being more of a facilitator rather than an expert. Instructors use cases because they encourage thinking, are existent and relevant to the course content, and give a complete perspective of concepts and theories. Cases force students to be responsible for their learning, encourage students–instructor interactions, cultivate teamwork and intellectual exchange among students, assist in active learning, teach time management, and generate respect for intellectual diversity.
This article takes a closer look at the case method’s two main pillars: preparation and analysis. Also, it outlines how discussions and participation can encourage intellectual exchange and empower students to make critical decisions. Since the onus of learning is on the students, and the instructor is merely a facilitator, they must understand the intent of the method to make it work to their benefit. This article is designed for students to use cases effectively, but instructors, too, can use it to introduce the case method to their students.
To cite this article: Puri, S. (2020). Effective learning through the case method. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1080/14703297.2020.1811133.
To access this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/14703297.2020.1811133
About the Journal
Innovations in Education and Teaching International is the journal of the Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) www.seda.ac.uk. To this end, contributions to the journal should reflect SEDA’s aim to promote innovation and good practice in higher education through staff and educational development and subject-related practices. Contributions are welcomed on any aspect of promoting and supporting educational change in higher and other post-school education, with an emphasis on research, experience, scholarship and evaluation, rather than mere description of practice. Educational development, also described as academic, faculty, staff or instructional development in some contexts, is taken to mean the activities engaged in by staff in specialist units, academic staff within departments, academic leaders and managers, those involved with quality enhancement initiatives, and others with an interest in educational change, to bring about improvements in, and a better understanding of, policy and practices of learning, teaching, assessment and curriculum development.
SJR: 48 | ABS: 2