The meaning of this teaching methodology consists in specific examples that need to be solved by students. These situations can be both simulated and taken from real practice.
Case studies are actively used in practice-oriented teaching, the purpose of which is to adapt the theory that the student receives to a real business situation. The cases that are proposed to be solved are similar to the real problems that arise when doing business; they help you learn how to use the tools you need and consider different ways to achieve your goal. Although the system of teaching based on real examples has been known since ancient times, case studies were singled out as a separate educational method only at the beginning of the twentieth century. Now more and more educational institutions are striving to introduce such an educational tool, since it develops the listener’s ability to think strategically and apply theoretical knowledge in practice.
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In business education, this ability is essential. So, the cases are actively used in the online learning system (LMS), developed by City Business School. It is noteworthy that students get acquainted with situations taken from the practice of companies or modeled by analogy, whereas until recently, education used mainly translation cases.
Cases can be solved by students both individually and in a group. Each of these options has its own advantage: in independent work with the simulator, the student is given the opportunity to show personal responsibility, in group work – to work in a team and get the assessment of his colleagues. The most effective is the combination of these formats.
We can distinguish the following conditions under which a case study will become effective:
- Students solve the case according to their understanding of a particular economic system. They proceed from real-life circumstances and conditions, as if they were faced with a problem in doing business.
- If, in a group discussion, each of the participants will put forward their own opinions and decisions, then the overall result obtained by analyzing different points of view and their information will be of better quality. Therefore, even with group work, each participant in the discussion should work on a case.
- Each participant in a group discussion has the right to make mistakes: the point of teamwork is precisely to exchange opinions, discuss different points of view and come to a rational solution together.
- The case does not have a standard or the only correct solution: a prerequisite for a well-posed problem is the variability of answers that participants (or one student) can offer.
- The team evaluates its results together. The objectivity of the assessment increases if the results of the work are analyzed by experienced tutors. The tutor explains to the students the conditions of the case and in some cases helps them go through the stages of its solution.
The undoubted advantages of a case study lie not only in the development of important skills, but also in the variability of training, and also in the fact that their development does not require special material and time costs. Participants can, in a relaxed atmosphere (since this is still a business game), demonstrate their creative and leadership skills, team interaction and delegation skills, the ability to analyze their mistakes, and also present the results. All these characteristics have become the reason that this method is now popular not only among developers of the methodology of teaching programs, but also among students.