From essays to problems

Where students need to apply the ideas they learn in new situations, assess them with problems, similar to but different from the cases they have studied.

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The Cloudworks Team
16 June 2008

One way of assessing students’ knowledge and understanding of case studies is to have them write short essays. But if application in new contexts and new situations is an important part of the learning outcomes, then a better way to assess them is to have them discuss practical problems. Here, in a psychology course on learning, the lecturer replaced short essay questions asking the students to repeat key features of an illustrative case study, with problems asking them to discuss the application of principles shown in the case study to a different practical situation. For example, from their understanding of a case study of motivation being improved in a restaurant, students have to discuss ways of improving motivation in a manufacturing business or a volleyball team. [Dan Bernstein]

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