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Why Case Studies?

Updated: May 23, 2021

“A defining condition of being human is that we have to understand

the meaning of our experience.” -Jack Mezirow

To prepare students for careers that haven’t been created yet, we need to teach them how to analyze complex situations and create original solutions to problems. One way to do this is by using real-world case studies, a learning model that’s focused on reflection during the problem-solving process. Case studies are focused on students solving problems and can be made accessible for every group of learners, both in one subject and in interdisciplinary work.

Our case studies are designed to bring students to a relatable situation in a vivid context that sparks deep engagement, exploration, and analysis, and then prompts them to offer explanations, propose solutions, and justify those solutions with evidence and reasoning.

Case studies have been used for decades by medical schools, law schools, business schools, scientific researchers, historians, and even artists.

Learning is greatest when students find:

1. The subjects they are studying relevant, and

2. The skills they are applying actually help them understand and solve real problems.

The open-ended problems presented in case studies give students work that feels connected to their lives, and ignites a passion found in few other academic endeavors. Ultimately, a case study is simply an interesting problem with many potential answers. The focus is not on finding the one correct answer but rather deeply engaging in discussions that lead a group toward the best possible answer or combination of answers. Perhaps no other instructional model so effectively evokes the learning cycle in a classroom environment.

"The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery."

-Mark Van Doren

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