What Is Case-Based Learning? (Plus Examples and Tips)

What is Case-Based Learning? Using a case-based approach engages students in discussion of specific scenarios that resemble or typically are real-world examples. This method is learner-centered with intense interaction between participants as they build their knowledge and work together as a group to examine the case.

Case Based Learning Demonstration

Benefits of case-based learning

Here are a few ways that participating in CBL can help you with your studies:

You can develop your critical thinking and problem-solving skills

Your ability to think critically will help you analyze and respond to a variety of situations based on the information at your disposal. You can develop your critical thinking abilities by reading and analyzing case studies because you will be better able to understand situations and apply what you already know. You can more clearly assess issues and develop novel solutions by actively applying learned concepts and knowledge to a real or hypothetical situation.

You can engage more deeply in self-reflection and critical reflection

Critical reflection entails closely examining your own presumptions and biases, whereas self-reflection entails looking at your own thought patterns and processes and reflecting on your own ideas. Due to the fact that it forces you to carefully examine your own thought and reasoning processes, case analysis can assist you in developing more active self-reflection and critical reflection. You can use these techniques to improve your decision-making, productivity, and engagement both inside and outside of the classroom.

You can discover different thought processes and perspectives

Due to the fact that most cases are open-ended and may have more than one resolution, CBL can assist you in learning more about various viewpoints and thought processes. Many cases also have a lot of ambiguities and uncertainties, so being more aware of these can make it easier for you to find the most crucial details. When working on a case with others, you can learn more about their perspectives as you evaluate the information at hand. You can also improve your communication, analytical, and teamwork abilities during this process.

What is case-based learning?

Students must apply their knowledge to a case study as part of the case-based learning (CBL) technique. In-depth analyses of a person, a group, or an event are known as case studies. Usually, they show a problem from the past or the present or a plausible, hypothetical situation. The instructor frequently places the students in groups so that they can jointly come up with their own answers to the questions raised by the case. Depending on how complicated the subject is, the length of the cases may change. Case studies are frequently very subjective, so there probably won’t be just one correct answer.

For students interested in business, law, social sciences, economics, environmental science, or education, instructors frequently use CBL. CBL is used in both undergraduate and graduate programs to give students the opportunity to apply what they are learning in the classroom to challenging problems. A few different kinds of case studies are employed in classrooms to stimulate debate and encourage students to assess issues:

How to use case-based learning to think critically

The four steps listed below can help you use CBL to think more critically:

1. Read and thoroughly examine the case

It’s crucial to read the entire case as well as any related materials. Various details may be included in some case studies, while very little information or narrative may be included in others. As you read the case, make notes on the sections that seem most important to you. To underline, circle, or highlight significant text, you can also use a highlighter or a pen.

You can mark something to remember it later if you’re not sure what it means. Remember that you’re searching for key issues, so you might want to create a basic summary of the case and outline its various sections in a notebook. This can make it simpler to return to a section later on when you’re analyzing the case and thinking through a solution based on your prior knowledge.

2. Identify the most important facts of the case

It’s important to review the case after reading it and making some notes and annotations so that you can use the information already there to identify the main issue. Depending on the circumstances, there may be several issues that are somehow interconnected. It’s crucial to examine every aspect of the case so you can determine the most crucial issues and distinguish them from less crucial ones.

3. Identify the cause of the issue

It’s crucial to consider the underlying cause after reviewing the case and determining the key issue or issues. There may be a number of contributing factors, but they may not all be equal. Before deciding which particular cause or causes specifically contributed to the issue, it might be helpful to list all the potential causes.

4. Formulate a solution or a method of action

List the approaches or strategies that others can use to address the issue that this case raises. It’s important to keep in mind that there might be solutions that the topic or organization the case focuses on isn’t able to implement because they either have limited resources or face too many restrictions. Before selecting a solution, think about conducting cost-benefit analyses for each one. A cost-benefit analysis compares the advantages and disadvantages of a course of action and can help predict possible outcomes.

Examples of case-based learning

A few instances of CBL in a classroom setting are provided below:


A class of medical students is analyzing a case study involving a new patient who has a number of symptoms. The patient’s neck is swollen, she has breathing problems, and her lower limbs are weak. The case study requires the students to select the symptom that is the most severe, select the patient’s symptoms to inquire about, and determine how long the patient has experienced the symptom. They then carry out diagnostic procedures, take into account potential diagnoses, and create a comprehensive treatment strategy.


A case study is given to students in an undergraduate business program to analyze. In the story, a new shaving item for men was produced by Frederick Industries. The shaving product didn’t perform as well as Frederick Industries had hoped, and the company currently sells a variety of bathroom products to both men and women, including shampoo, soap, body wash, and liquid hand soap. Each student analyzes the new product’s sales performance using the business principles they are learning. They then discuss their findings with one another and decide on the outcome that is most likely as a group.


A pre-law professor gives a group of students a case in which they must decide how to effectively represent a client. The owner of a fast-food franchise files a straightforward defamation lawsuit at the outset of the case because he believes a former employee damaged their reputation by making untrue statements about where they get their food. As the case progresses, the details of the case change, and the students ultimately modify their arguments in response.


Which is an example for case based learning?

Examples. Students who study humanities examine a scenario in which a theater is having management and financial issues. They collaborate to develop solutions for the theater by applying business and theater principles they have learned in the classroom to the case.

What is the difference between case based learning and problem based learning?

PBL and other types of discussion-based small-group learning have not been contrasted. In small-group sessions, case-based learning (CBL) uses a guided inquiry approach and adds more structure.

Is Case Based Learning PBL?

Similar to problem-based learning (PBL), case-based learning (CBL) focuses on particular patient cases to determine learning objectives. Small groups are used to teach it as well, with a tutor facilitating group discussions. This strategy is popular among students because it closely matches the cases encountered in student clinical placements.

What type of learning is case study?

Case studies have historically been used in lecture-based learning to support or illustrate theoretical concepts. In such cases, theory is first taught to students, who are then exposed to its applications through the presentation of a case.

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