It is important that case studies relate to the students’ knowledge and environment in order to address their emotions so that they demonstrate empathy with the case persons. Learning outcomes are more relevant when the case addresses a general problem because the students will be able to apply the outcomes to more contexts. It is important to apply the Case study method because Case studies are included in many university classes in order to present students with complex and uncertain challenges of a real-world situation. Students will be involved into the problem-solving process and this puts them in a situation where there is not only one correct answer, but which requires thoughtful and creative decision-making in an uncertain context. Students are confronted with their values and skills as they need to prioritize which aspects of the case (facts, theories, emotions) they see as the most relevant. Thereby students can develop their strategic and systemic competences as well as interpersonal, teamwork and leadership skills.
Students will benefit most using the case study method when they can apply their previously learned theoretical knowledge and methodological skills.
Preparation for the educator involves selecting appropriate case studies and formulating questions for the students. During class the educator needs to find the right balance between instructor and facilitator as students might need some guidance but should at the same time have enough freedom to discuss solutions on their own.
Following procedure is recommended:
1. Students individually read the case study at home or in class.
2. Students will be divided into 3-5 small groups to discuss the case studies.
3. The students present their perspectives of the case.
4. The results are commonly discussed.
5. Students reflect the case and answer the questions in a written report.
Case studies can be applied independently, but classes with up to 15 students would be ideal.