The Case Method
The case method is a discussion-based, student-centered learning methodology that enables participants to learn by doing and by teaching others. Teachers still use lectures, problems, exercises, experiential learning, problem-based learning, projects, collaborative learning, simulations, games, videos, field trips, reports or any other teaching/learning techniques. However, if a significant percentage of total class time is spent on case discussion, then a course, seminar, workshop, training session or program can be said to be using the case method.
What is a case?
A case is a description of an actual situation, commonly involving a decision, a challenge, an opportunity, a problem or an issue faced by someone in an organization. A case allows the student to step figuratively into the position of the decision maker. It is based on actual field data, authenticated by a release. It contains relevant data about the situation available to this person at the time of the case, plus background information about the organization. Its content varies with the educational purpose of the case.
Why are cases used?
Cases are used to enable students to learn about decision making by putting themselves in the position of actual managers. Students analyze situations, develop alternatives, make decisions, develop implementation plans and communicate and defend their findings in writing, or during class discussions. Cases are used to test student understanding of theory, to connect theory with application, and to develop practical insight. Cases enable students to learn by doing and by teaching each other. In addition to analytical and decision making skills, cases allow the development of communication, social, time management and creative skills.