Part of 3250 Instructional Strategies course is an assignment to create a video presentation. My topic is the instructional strategy of using the case study method. Here is a link to my video: http://www.powtoon.com/p/fPKYs766st7/#
A Case study is presenting an individual with an issue or problem that needs to be solved. It could be something that actually did happen in real life, or a fictional scenario. The details of the case are presented, the learners analyze the information and then build on their prior knowledge and experience to determine a solution. Case studies demand critical thinking and reasoning skills from the learners.
Best Practices for using Case Studies
A good case study will be engaging, challenging, authentic, and realistic. There should be enough details to come to a decision, but not giving everything away. A few key points to follow:
1. Tells a story, a description of a real life situation
- Brings up a thought provoking issue
- Comprised of some elements of conflict
- Encourages empathy for the main character
- Lacks a clear solution
- Encourages students to critically think
- A decision must be made
What is the role of the educator
- Develop the case as per the best practices, or give as an assignment for the students to create the case
- Present the information to the learners in a written or verbal format
- Allow time for the case study to sink in, let the students think about the information
- Give clear instructions as to the format of how the case study analysis and discussion will proceed as well as how the learners performance will be evaluated (peer evaluation, teacher evaluation, or self evaluation).
- Facilitate case study discussion in a group format or utilize as an individual assessment tool.
What is the role of the learner
- Identify the problem that needs to be solved
- Ask questions, define relevant issues, form an opinion, make a decision, form principles and structure to managing future case studies.
- Helps learners solidify new concepts and apply knowledge to a specific situation
- Develops learners questioning skills
- Develops learners critical thinking and reasoning skills
- Encourages learners to progress from a conceptualization stage to application
- Assessment of the learners ability to analyze and decide how to proceed effectively
- Creates an interactive method of presenting information
- The option of assigning the task to the students to create the case study develops their creativity
- The format of evaluating their peers on their case study solution develops the learners assessment and evaluation skills. Self evaluation can help with self concept and reflection on learning.
- May be an oversimplified version of a real life situation.
- Learners may not act in the same manner as with a real life case
- It takes time to completely analyze a case and come up with the best solutions
- The learner may mistakenly think all cases have a solution, creating a fix-it mentality
- Collaborative issues, sometimes requires group work or peer evaluation issues
I teach in the field of massage therapy where case studies are a valuable and realistic strategy. I use case studies for mock client treatments, practicing the learners deductive reasoning before they see an actual paying massage client. This is called an oral practical exam and is part of the certification process to become an RMT. For example- Joe comes in to your clinic complaining of pain in his left ankle. As the therapist you are required to ask Joe questions and determine what injury he sustained by performing the appropriate testing, and develop a massage treatment plan. There is no absolute right answer for the treatment, however as an assessment tool there are techniques that should be incorporated as well as modalities that should be avoided.
This has been a short video to introduce the instructional strategy of case studies, there is more to explore! I encourage you to try developing your own mock scenarios for learner analysis and application.
Fenwick, T. J., & Parsons, J. (2009). The Art of Evaluation: A Resource for Educators and Trainers (2nd ed.). Toronto, Thompson Educational Publishing Inc. 246-248.
Kunselman, J. C., & Johnson, K. A. (2004). Using The Case Method to Facilitate Learning. College Teaching, 52(3), 87-92.
Niemyer, E. S. (1995). The Case for Case Studies. Training & Development, 49(1), 50.
Popil, I. (2011). Promotion of critical thinking by using case studies as teaching method. Nurse Education Today, 31(2), 204-207. doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2010.06.002