• relate course materials and theories to the real world
  • encourage real-world decision-making
  • present complex issues to students


  • developing questions/cases
  • designing implementation strategies
    (how to group students, etc.)
Activity Time 10-75 minutes depending on complexity of cases, size
of class and groups




  • In order to ensure case studies foster an active and
    engaged learning environment, instructors should
    facilitate discussion with open-ended questions and
    help connect the case discussion to the core course material.
  • Rather than isolating students by making them
    work on cases independently, teamwork on
    complex case questions may nurture critical thinking
    skills, clarify assumptions, and challenge ideas.
Assessment medium stakes, summative

After students review a story-based case that is often based on a real-world situation, the instructor may ask them to discuss, analyze, ask questions, and present theories on the case in order to resolve its outstanding issues. Students or groups of students may have to make decisions on the case with possible critical consequences. Often, cases may have more than interpretation and solution.

Data analytics cases studies use the analysis of raw data to advance decision making. The case studies, which are often associated with business, healthcare, and technology, allow students to formulate evidence-based solutions with real-life implications. 

Application of case-based learning spans the disciplines, from humanities, to engineering, to medicine, the sciences, and social sciences. Likewise, case-based learning can be adapted for both small and large classroom sizes.

Case discussions do not have to be limited to synchronous class activities: case discussion can be part of homework, class preparation, and even carry over from synchronous discussion to outside-classroom discussion. Case discussions can also take the form of debates. Likewise, the case studies strategy may be implemented in the classroom, online using collaborative tools, or using a combination of the two.