February 1, 2024

Active Learning Strategies for Higher Education Classrooms: Case studies

Active LearningAcademic SuccessCase StudiesCollaborationGroup Work

One of the widely known active learning strategies being used in higher education is case studies. This blog will outline how to effectively implement case studies in a classroom to facilitate learning.

Active learning requires students to engage in meaningful activities and deep thinking about concepts. It includes exercises like case studies, self-monitoring, reflecting, constructing, quizzes, debating, and interviewing experts. These activities help students retain information more than passive methods do. Case studies help students apply the material they learned in class to real-life complex examples. Case studies promote collaboration and high-level thinking. Effective case studies include students collaborating, collecting data, and applying learning to real-life settings.

The chart of active learning strategies

The chart of active learning strategies

Benefits of Using Case Studies

Case studies are very useful for learning life skills that can be applied to the workforce. It allows students to separate, identify, and focus on the important information that is provided to them in the case studies. This skill allows students to navigate the information environment and understand and interpret the information that they interact with every day. Case studies can also help students identify and understand the biases that they perceive unconsciously. This skill will help students in real life when they have to interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures. Case studies can also help students with their judgment skills. They require students to make and defend decisions. Case studies also help students with their self-confidence. When students are presented with a challenging problem and they can overcome the challenge it allows them to feel confident in their skills. This mindset is very important for students, not just for university but for real life. Case studies also help develop curiosity among students. This curiosity enables students to be quick thinkers, adaptive, and open to new experiences.

A graph of performance vs perception

A graph of performance vs perception

How to Use Case Studies

The flowchart on How to Use Case Studies

The flowchart on How to Use Case Studies

The first step is to pick a case study for the course content that will challenge the students. The case study depends on the format of the class and the goal the professor is trying to achieve with the case study. If there is a large lecture room, it is more challenging to connect with students and hear their opinions on the case studies. In that situation, the case study will mostly be used to help students understand and illustrate lecture material. In smaller classrooms, there is more opportunity to have an open discussion with students and hear their points of view. In this situation, it is recommended to pick cases that are more complex and are open-ended so there can be an open discussion.

Second, professors need to prepare thoroughly for presenting the cases and conducting the class discussion. Preparation would include professors outlining the questions and prompts they plan on using in the lecture to facilitate the discussions.

Case-based discussion is a valuable tool that can be used by professors to facilitate the success of case study learning. Six steps need to be followed to make case-based discussion more effective.First, give students enough time to prepare for the case discussion. Assigning the case as homework would help save class time and let students interpret the case at their own pace.

  1. Second, introduce the case to the class and give guidelines on what the expectations are for interpreting the case. Give students a rubric that will help them guide their analysis of the case which allows students to understand how in-depth they have to be with their answers.
  2. Third, split the class into smaller groups and encourage students to share their opinions. Create a safe space for students to share their opioids without any judgment. It would be effective if roles were assigned in the group to facilitate the group discussion.
  3. Next, have the groups present their analysis of the case to the classroom. This would allow the students to hear diverse perspectives and opioids on the case which will deepen the learning of the students.
  4. Next, as a professor, ask students questions when they are discussing the cases within the group. Help the students think on a deeper and more analytical level.
  5. Lastly, synthesize the findings of the case and the key takeaways. This will help students remember what the case was meant to teach them and what they should remember going forward.

Works Cited