February 4, 2023

Creating Cases

Creating a case is educational art, and the real challenge is to break your expertise down into discrete units of knowledge and skills, which goes against your brain’s natural tendency.  You are asking your brain to regress and think inefficiently by its standards, and to surface its automated subconscious processes. It is not unlike an artist who must reduce a painting into brushstrokes that when viewed together reveal the image. Each case that is worked through by learners contributes “brushstrokes” to their mental schema.

The real question for the educational artist is, “What portion of my mental schema do I want my learners to acquire before they leave me?”

Continuing with the art metaphor, put aside for the moment the idea of a single massive capstone case that with one masterful stroke illuminates vast sections of a novice learner’s mental schema. Begin with relatively simple cases that focus on  intermediate tasks and subtasks. This approach is not only merciful to your learners, but is merciful to you as well.

Use a series of cases to reinforce previous knowledge and skills while progressively introducing new content for mastery. Increase the complexity of your cases as your learners build competence and confidence, and once learners have mastered the intermediate tasks and subtasks, then give them the challenge of a more comprehensive case experience.

How to Link Content with Competency

Doing objectives
1) Identify a competency
2) Identify what tasks and subtasks are required to perform that competency
Thinking objectives
3) Identify what thinking skills are required to perform the tasks and subtasks
Understanding objectives
4) Identify what content must be understood to perform the tasks and subtasks
Create cases
5) Create intermediate cases that exercise the identified thinking skills, and demonstrate mastery of each task and subtask
6) Create comprehensive cases that require mastery of the intermediate tasks and subtasks to complete

Historical Technical and Social Barriers to Creating and Using Cases

•Creating cases can be expensive in terms of time and resources
•Tools for creating cases can be complex and require a steep and time-consuming learning curve
•Creating cases often requires interactions with others such as information technology personnel
•Once created, cases can be difficult to modify
•Cases created by others can be difficult to adapt

A Solution to these Historical Barriers

The Applied Learning Platform overcomes many of these technical and social barriers to authoring, sharing, and distributing cases to learners, and is available at http://WhenKnowingMatters.com . It is a product of Rick Mills Consulting LLC.
Free and subscription versions are available.It is important to note that Case-Applied Learning is agnostic with regard to a specific case authoring and distribution tool, or for that matter, any instrument that links course content to specific demonstrated competencies. What matters is that learners know what they know, and know how to apply what they know.