A Guide for Students in the Multicultural University
8. The case method: ‘learning by doing’* Students learn more effectively when they are involved in the learning process (Bonwell and Eison 1991; Sivan et al. 2000). Learning can take on many forms and the case method has developed a solid reputation as a meaningful contributor to the learning processes of students. Almost invariably, as a student you will come across a case study in your university experience. The case method is a problem-based teaching method which is based on a ‘real’ and authentic situation. It is a century ago that Harvard Business School implemented the case study method for teaching business. Over that century, the methodology, experience and practice of case study learning has been refined and the core principles laid down at Harvard University. Cases are now used around the world covering all kinds of disciplines across both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. By the mid-1990s Harvard alone had a library consisting of over 30 000 cases, with 5000 of these functioning in practice as a resource for universities all over the world (Kjellen et al. 1994). Case study learning is a fully participative model of learning. It is based on the Socratic method which has been a fundamental learning approach. This involves the students discussing and developing their responses to problems posed. It is not a learning process where you can sit back and not contribute. You are actively involved and contribute at various levels which will be discussed. The basic tenet of case study learning is that...
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