Case-Based Reasoning as a Strategic Teaching Tool
The last two decades have seen calls for a re-examination of the relevance of business education, and the pursuit of different avenues to ensure the value, usefulness and relevance of student learning. Many students enrolled in undergraduate business degrees have little, or no, full-time work experience which further exacerbates the difficulties experienced by instructors attempting to establish clearer links between theory and practice. This paper examines the use of case-based reasoning in the teaching of strategic human resource management at the undergraduate level, and uses a survey to explore the experience of students studying in this manner.
A questionnaire, containing both quantitative and qualitative questions was administered to two cohorts of students (internal and distance) at the completion of the subject in 2006 and 2007. A number of key measures were identified through an examination of the literature on the use of case-based reasoning, its application in the classroom and identified benefits, and formed the basis of the questionnaire design. The data was analyzed using simple means, standard deviations, and two-sample comparisons of means for statistical significance (t-tests).
It was found that overall the students (both Internal and Distance) were pleased with their experience using the case method in this subject and felt that it had assisted their learning. No significant differences were found when comparing the perceptions of Distance and Internal students, or between the two cohorts of students (2006 and 2007). Of more value, perhaps, are many of the written comments in which students elaborated on how and why they found case-based reasoning a useful approach for studying strategic human resource management as they can both inform and reinforce the teaching strategy.
Keywords: Case-Based Reasoning, Strategic Human Resource Management, Student Perceptions, Learning Experiences
Dr. Pamela Mathews
Lecturer, School of Commerce, Charles Sturt University