Teaching Strategies for a Learner-Centered Classroom
Strategy: Case Studies
Time: 30-90 minutes
Intent: Case studies are narratives, situations, or statements that raise a variety of complex situations and unresolved issues. They allow students to consider situations in the classroom that they might face in the future and thus help bridge the gap between theory and practice.
- Depending on what you want your students to learn, develop or locate a case study that has the following components: real-world scenario, supporting data and documents, and an open-ended problem.
- For example: issues related to a marketing problem; a computer security issue; economic impact of joblessness on a community; a hospital ER visit, etc.
- Divide students into groups and provide a case study that they will discuss.
- Discussion can be guided by the instructor through a series of written questions. For example: Identify one or two issues the case raises. What possibilities for action are there? What are the consequences of each?
- The groups are directed to place themselves in the role of the decision maker as they read through the case and identify the problem.
- Students will examine all sides of the issue and reach a decision or recommendation on a course of action.
- Groups report out on their courses of action while the instructor guides follow-up discussion on underlying issues, comparing different alternatives.
- Students develop skills in analytical thinking and reflective judgment by reading and discussing complex, real-life scenarios.
- Case studies move the responsibility for learning from the teacher
onto the students, as they move from theory to practical application.
- Students learn to identify and delineate between critical and extraneous factors and develop realistic solutions to complex problems.
- Students have the opportunity to learn from one another.
- Use a case study to guide a full class discussion, using a series of written questions you designed to facilitate discussion. If the case study has a real life conclusion, compare the conclusion with the recommendations made during the discussion.
- Wonder Lake, a Case Study http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/pkal/mnscu/activities/38475.html
- Teaching with Case Studies http://www.stanford.edu/dept/CTL/cgi-bin/docs/newsletter/case_studies