Active Learning

Active Learning In Practice: Case Studies

A case study is an active learning activity in which students read a pre-defined data set, scenario or application.

The case study is accompanied by a list of questions that asks students to reflect on the information and formulate a response to it. This is an extremely flexible active learning approach because of the range of possibilities that a case study can take. Cases are frequently used in Business, Health Sciences, Education or Sociology. Good case studies do not have an obvious answer, require students to gather additional information or ask critical questions in order to understand the needs and perspectives of the participants involved in the case.

Facilitator Notes

  • Timing can be tricky here! Make sure to give students enough time to read the case study so that they fully understand the content before moving onto the questions. The first time you introduce a case study to the class, consider breaking the activities up into manageable chunks of work (and time!). Leave enough time to discuss and debrief the case study.
  • The success of a case study generally depends on the facilitator’s ability to pull the “big picture” out of the details.
  • Ensure that you have enough support (e.g. Teaching Assistants or other resources) to help you circulate around the room to ensure that groups are staying on task.