Case studies are a teaching activity where experiential learning is used to help students bridge the gap between theory and practice by analyzing detailed real life situations that are relevant to their career choice. Case studies have been used in teaching healthcare, sciences, and law for centuries but are now gaining popularity in a variety of different fields. Case studies introduce the learner to complex situations where they are able to develop critical thinking skills by analyzing and synthesizing the scenarios and reaching a decision on how they would proceed and why.
A PIDP 3250 classmate, Tim Schmuland, created an informative digital project that discusses cases studies. Tim discusses what needs to be included in a good case study, the roles of the instructor and learner, and identifies the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating them into your teaching practices.
I have used case studies in both my classroom as well as when teaching in a clinical setting. They are a learner centered active learning strategy that encourage students to use their higher order thinking skills. They help students to develop critical thinking skills by analyzing real-life situations they will deal with in their nursing careers. I teach students to use a systematic approach when analysing case studies to identify:
- the issue
- the goal of analysis
- the context of the problem
- the key facts that need to be considered
- if there are any alternative conclusions
- recommendations with a rationale as to why
Case studies are an effective teaching tool that should be more widely used across the disciplines. If you have not used case studies in your classroom before I recommend you check out the above link to my classmates digital project.
While researching case studies for our discussion forum I also came across another great resource that provides a detailed description of all of the best practices you should follow when using case studies. This document was created by the Learning and Teaching Office at Ryerson University and is very informative and contains all of the information that you would need to get started with case studies today.