Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Case Studies Promote Critical Thinking Skills

The use of case studies in teaching is probably as old as teaching itself. What better way to solidify the learning of basic concepts than to practice applying them to hypothetical "real life" scenarios?

The teaching and learning of human anatomy and physiology lends itself particularly well to case study applications. Most of our learners are preparing for health professions or fitness-athletic careers in which they'll be doing nothing but applying A&P principles to real-life cases.

That's why every chapter in Anatomy & Physiology includes a brief, engaging Case Study scenario that challenges the reader to apply what they've learned in that chapter. It appears with the end-of-chapter review material, as part of a suite of active learning opportunities that help readers really "get" the core concepts of human structure and function.

Brain -based learning principles hold that students learn better when they are challenged with activities that allow them to construct and consolidate their own mental models of basic concepts. Puzzling over a case study after reading a chapter helps students do just that.

I've found that many of my A&P students rely heavily on inductive reasoning and therefore may find that case studies make it easier to understand core concepts. The chapter narrative uses a deductive approach, moving from general principles to specific concepts—then the case study turns things around a bit and allows the reader to explore specific cases to construct a mental framework of the broader principles. They thus learn their A&P "backward and forward," eh?

Study after study has shown that the case-study strategy is an effective learning tool for A&P students, so why not incorporate that into their reading process?

Take a look at the Case Studies in your copy of Anatomy & Physiology to see that it really does fit the needs of your students to improve reading comprehension. If you don't have a copy, just go to this link and request a free review copy now!

X-ray credit: Hellerhoff

2 comments:

  1. I try to use case studies as much as possible. What argument would you put forth for those educators who say that we should not be teaching the students to diagnose? I try to remind the educators that we are giving them a taste of reality for possible careers without really harming anyone.

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  2. I try to use case studies as much as possible. What argument would you put forth for those educators who say that we should not be teaching the students to diagnose? I try to remind the educators that we are giving them a taste of reality for possible careers without really harming anyone.

    ReplyDelete