The process of learning encompasses to every walk of life-be it a novice or a professional. While scanning the pages of history, we observe that the process of learning has evolved into various “avatars,” beginning with the ancient gurukul system and culminating in today’s e-learning mode. However, the one thing common amongst the various learning methods is to inculcate or deliver the didactic message to its respective procurer. Likewise, the case study approach is no different.
To jot down a one-stop definition of a case study is really a Herculean task because perspective varies. Consequently, all case studies do not bear the same structure, approach and style – some are in the form of case let, or short cases or a longer version. Coming to a general definition, a case study can be defined as the descriptive format of any particular propaganda (be it a challenge, opportunity or problem) encompassing the various issues of an organization. One important point that needs to be emphasized here is that a case is not a problem in disguise (since every problem has a unique solution). Rather, it is a method of selecting the best plausible alternatives from the various courses of actions available.
The positive aspects of the case study approach for effective learning:
- A case study assumes a hypothetical situation in which learners step into the shoes of decision-makers of a large organization dealing with various issues with no risk involved to them. This helps them to get exposure to a wide range of matters, attributing them to wear different hats as per the need of the hour. Thus, it offers flexibility and boosts the morale of the learner to deal with various responsibilities.
- Since a case study is an interactive approach to learning, learners are supposed to deal with others’ views and perspectives and articulate one’s own views with plausible solutions without indulging in an acrimonious environment. This improves the art of communication, whether while speaking/presenting, listening or debating. It also demonstrates one’s interpersonal skills by handling conflicts effectively.
- It also becomes an arena where learners can test their own command in various subject matters. It also sees how effectively a learner is able to integrate theories and concepts and apply the same in various qualitative and quantitative analytical skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking and data handling. Thus, a learner’s decision-making skills are further enhanced when you provide a series of alternatives from which he chooses the best one and finally implements it in practical life.
- Often it happens that a case study is given to a team – this helps in inculcating the habit of team work and teaching individuals to collaborate with their peers.
A case study usually deals with real life issues pertaining to contextualize theoretical concepts as applied in practical cases. Thus, the onus is upon the learner to share his views supported by better logic. It is a multidisciplinary approach which enlightens the learner with a wide array of subject matter, thus broadening his thinking process. The learner, in this case, tries to enumerate the protagonists involved (organization, individual, etc.) and come out with inferences which portrays the individual’s judgment skill in a given situation.