The Effects of Different Types of Case Learning on Student Engagement

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Two types of case learning-case studies and problem-based learning-have become staples in our active learning international relations classrooms. Yet few teacher-scholars have examined whether different types of case learning yield different learning outcomes. This study examines the student engagement in response to four different types of case learning: case studies with texts designed for the case method, those using written nontraditional case materials, those incorporating documentary films as case materials, and problem-based learning approaches. I survey students in two International Political Economy classes as a way of yielding an indirect assessment of how effective or useful these different approaches are, and which types of case learning engaged students most. Results suggest that the types of case learning that engaged students' senses in multiple ways-problem-based learning and case studies using films as texts-enhanced their perceptions of the exercises' effectiveness. Case studies that relied on written texts alone were not rated as highly, although were still seen as extremely valuable. These results are consistent with the findings from the cognitive psychology literature that informs the active teaching and learning approach. © 2010 International Studies Association.


Active learning, Assessment, Case studies, Problem-based learning

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