Case-based teaching strategies use real-life examples to offer a shared learning experience. It may be difficult for students to experience real-world situations together. These scenarios, provide a common “experience” so that students can solve problems, make decisions, and generally think critically together. Many case studies are stories, designed to engage students in research and analysis of a specific problem or set of problems. Case studies tend to work well in the online/hybrid learning environment.
Examples and Resources
- National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University of Buffalo – A comprehensive site for all scientific disciplines, links to numerous articles on case study teaching in science plus an extensive collection of cases.
- Teaching with the Case Method from Carleton College – Several examples of teaching with case studies.
- Major, A., & Viswanathan, R. (2019). Create a case method group activity to engage students in critical thinking. In A. deNoyelles, A. Albrecht, S. Bauer, & S. Wyatt (Eds.), Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Center for Distributed Learning. https://topr.online.ucf.edu/create-case-method-group-activity-engage-students-critical-thinking/.
Experiential learning is an activity-oriented strategy rooted in experiences. Personalized reflection on experiences and the formulation of plans to apply learning to other contexts are critical factors. Experiential learning is effective in providing opportunities for students to engage and apply academic understanding through hands-on experience. There are many methods and tools that can be useful when employing experiential instruction such as simulations, field experience, games, storytelling, and surveys.
Field experience is an excellent way to bring real-world experiences back to a course. Students are often asked to document their experiences and observations and share reflections. For example, students majoring in art history frequently visit local museums to view examples of artwork presented in class.
Games and simulations allow learners to practice skills, acquire knowledge and learn concepts while having fun. Tools such as Kahoot can be used by faculty in order to conduct formative assessment in the form of an online, in-class game. In addition, technologies such as SimCity provide virtual environments for students to explore, like Center of the Cell and the many simulations found on Phet can offer students experiences that might be impossible in real life.
Role-playing gets students to explore acting out different scenarios or characters. For example, in a business class students may act as a buyer or seller of a specific product. In doing so, students develop a better understanding of the concepts they’ve learned by testing them out.
Ertmer, P. A., & Koehler, A. A. (2014). Online case-based discussions: Examining coverage of the afforded problem space. Educational Technology Research and Development, 62(5), 617-636. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-014-9350-9
Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Retrieved from https://www.pearson.com/us/higher-education/program/Kolb-Experiential-Learning-Experience-as-the-Source-of-Learning-and-Development-2nd-Edition/PGM183903.html
Major, A., & Viswanathan, R. (2019). Create a case method group activity to engage students in critical thinking. In A. deNoyelles, A. Albrecht, S. Bauer, & S. Wyatt (Eds.), Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Center for Distributed Learning. https://topr.online.ucf.edu/create-case-method-group-activity-engage-students-critical-thinking/.