How case studies bring out the best in students

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Military strategists have always used military history war campaigns as their basis of learning lessons from these encounters and applying these lessons learned in the battles the Generals and their army fought with their adversaries. History gives out a lot of important information including lessons learned which can be applied in the modern context of solving situational conflicts and doing good management.

The case study approach is something very similar to the history lessons also, whereby it gives out the actual scenario of what happened and what can be learned from the outcomes of what happened. The military thus has been using history akin to what we are using case studies today for our businesses and for teaching purpose. Academic case study teaching started sometimes in the 1820s, but in the contemporary era, has assumed significant importance towards learning and application of this knowledge in real life business situations.

UAE Case study

In the academic world, learning to gain knowledge is of paramount importance. In the business world, implementation of this knowledge to pragmatic working business models is of extreme significance, so that the progression of continuous improvement occurs always as a dynamic process. Also, what we always remember and never forget in our lifetime are the stories told by our grandmothers. The question thus arises that why do we never forget these stories?  The simple answer is because it is a story which utilizes our maximum sensory preceptors, and it is reinforced so many times in our brain, we always remember it.

The case study method of teaching is very similar to storytelling and once we reinforce this story with some theoretical teaching, our neurons become more active and the learning like the storytelling becomes more enriched. A visualization is a strong tool and once we visualize a case, the brain stores that information for a long time. For actual learning in an academic environment, the case study approach is thus a very effective and efficient method of learning for the students. It basically involves problem-based learning and promotes enhancing analytical and cognitive skills of students. By involving students as individuals, as well as in groups, it helps students to reach higher levels of knowledge, analysis, evaluation, and application of the theoretical concepts learned by them. It also helps students to score higher grades and marks in their assessments and assignments, since the level of learning takes them a notch higher than if they had just learned the concepts from theoretical frameworks only.

 Knowledge comes from learning and with knowledge, one gets the power to transform things which can affect people. One of the best forms of acquiring good knowledge comes from the case study approach; even in research work, case study approach is used extensively while doing exploratory, or analytical or predictive research. The more senses a student uses, the better is the understanding and application of the concepts and theories learned by the learner. Case studies real situations integrated with theoretical concepts and processes, and applied thereafter with more of experiential learning tools get the learning and knowledge to their highest level. Learning also has to be fun and just the theoretical learning style at times can be mundane and boring, thus if we can bond these concepts with real-life situations and a pragmatic style of learning also, it brings in an added zing in learning and acquisition of knowledge by the student.

After all, any academia wants to give the best learning to their best students……….   

Anil Ahluwalia

Academic Director

Westford Education Group

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions appearing in the article are personal views of the author and not the official statement of Westford

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