Is Your Case a Problem?

  • Katherine L Burgess


In 1999, the Southeast Advanced Technological Education Consortium (SEATEC) held two national forums on the campus of Vanderbilt University. The first forum addressed the design of case studies for technological education. The second focused on best practices in teaching technological content through case studies (TEFATE, 1999). The second event featured an address by an especially distinguished guest, Dr. Howard S. Barrows. Dr. Barrows, often referred to as ?The Father of Problem-based Learning,? forwarded both a presentation and a paper (Barrows, 1999a, 1999b). In his contribution to the forums, Dr. Barrows? speaks specifically to faculty interested in teaching technical content through case studies. Based his extensive experience in medical education as well as his work with teachers in secondary education, college, and other professional schools, Dr. Barrows concluded that problems, not case studies, produce the most powerful learning outcomes for students in technical fields (Barrows, 1999a, 1999b).