Case Study Method

Pioneered by Harvard Business School faculty to teach graduate business school students, the case method is an innovative educational method that places the student in the role of a decision maker of a major company, nonprofit or government organization. The student is faced with a real-world challenge with constraint and incomplete information found in real situations. The issues are complex and often there is no right one solution. The case study method presents a dynamic process for exchanging information, sharing perspectives from different students, debating and counter-debating arguments, building and collaborating on ideas, analyzing issues and exercising judgment. This method has been proven to be an effective tool for preparing future business and government leaders in a classroom environment.

How the Case Method Works

Students are presented with the details of a case in written form. They read the case study and place themselves in the role of the decision maker as they read about the atmospherics, situation, decisions and problems they are faced with. They then perform analysis, examining the causes and considering the potential outcomes of actions to determine a set of recommendations. They may accomplish this individually or in a group setting. Students read and reflect on the case, then meeting in small groups or teams before a formal larger class discussion to get ready and discuss their points of view and analysis with one another. After this informal initial digestion and analysis of the information, students will gather in a classroom setting led by an instructor who will lead the discussion. The instructor’s role is to facilitate discussion and ask questions that encourage students to probe the underlying issues, debate points of views and suggest courses of action. Students should do most of the talking as the instructor should be primarily in the role of facilitating discussion and steering conversation with the occasional input or observation.

Case Study Methodology to Augment Adult Learning

Core One’s training prepares students to deal with complex real-world problems that require operational judgement and finely-tuned decision-making in the national security realm. In our domain and the markets we serve, there are a lot of gray areas that may not have one right answer and multiple potential solutions and outcomes. Since 2016, Core One has incorporated case study methodology in several of its training programs and has an ongoing Curriculum Development Board that is constantly developing new ones. We implement case study writers who have expertise in working with subject matter experts or real world-decision makers to write a 5 to 15-page case study, developing learning objectives, discussion questions and instructor notes. We train our instructors on how to teach using the case study methodology and so students get the most out of their training. If you would like to learn more about how Core One can help your organization introduce or incorporate more case studies into
your training programs, please contact us.

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