GRAD 5114 Post 3: Cased-Based Pedagogy

Cased-Based learning (CBL) is a method in which students can develop their skills, analytical thinking and reflective judgments by reading and discussing the complex and real-life scenarios. In CBL, students are often provided with some examples related to the lecture notes and discuss within a small group so that they can communicate and exchange their own ideas on this topic. Before the start of CBL, students need to have a general ideas about the topics and problem they are going to discuss. Also, it is appropriate for instructors to set up the directions and outlines of topics in case students are out of the topics.

There are many benefits of CBL in the classroom. For example, students can develop their incentives and motivations to learn something new and their self-reflection and critical thinking by collaborative learning. By forming into different groups, CBL enable students to communicate with other students fully and exchange unique diversity ideas. As a instructor, the most important meaning of CBL in class is students could start from the practical example to learn some theatrical ideas in the textbooks. The logic of learning should start from the practice and then go to the theories. Next, when students fully understand the theories, they should also try to use the theories to guide their practice again. From the practice to practice, that is the true essence of learning. By CBL, students can gradually learn the relationship between the practice and theory.

However, CBL sometimes is not functioning very well in the class. Every time I try to inspire students to think the relationship between cases and theories, the first thing I need to make sure that I give the appropriate cases. Also, in case students gradually switch their attention to unrelated topics, an instructor needs to set up a boundary before discussion. Sometimes, students are too involved in the practical cases but ignore to extract the theories behind these cases. Therefore, a proper summary right after the CBL discussion is really necessary.

Published by Zhenyu

The third-year Ph.D. student from the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech.

3 thoughts on “GRAD 5114 Post 3: Cased-Based Pedagogy

  1. I think you bring up a good point about students potentially going off topic – I think professors have to construct these learning experiences carefully, as well as being sure to facilitate by popping in and listening to students as they have their discussions. I think it’s important that these discussions occur inside the classroom for that reason, as it seems like it would be a lot harder for an instructor to moderate if students had to meet outside of class. Additionally, as you mentioned, a carefully constructed case will limit the possibilities for students to end up going in the “wrong” direction.


  2. Zhenyu, I like the approach you took on this topic. Your post made me think about how I could and should use these learning styles within my own teaching. I do try to add in real world type scenarios for students to ponder and discuss but after reading your post, I will be much more aware of things that I, as a professor, can do in order to help facilitate case based learning for my students. I think that there are some hiccups that every teacher will have to maneuver around in order to get students to understand the value of this type of learning but I also believe that it is well worth it to ensure that when students leave their institutions of learning they can take something ‘useful’ with them. Memorizing facts, figures, and theories is all good but the real value of an education is the critical thinking skills that allow a student to use the knowledge in a way that serves the public and the world outside of the higher education institution. Thanks for the insight, I enjoyed reading your post.


  3. I think you brought up very important points. However, I believe PBL is a good teaching/learning method which encourages critical thinking and self-directed learning and it requires adequate teaching/ learning resources are required for its success.


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