Student-Driven Case Based Learning

Author Information
Author(s): 
Bevin Clare
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Maryland University of Integrative Health
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

A peer-case-based learning course was converted to serve a blended learning clinical program. The course objectives drive a peer-to-peer learning experience with faculty serving as “guides” in the process rather than the experts. This delivery emphasizes the impact of student generated ideas and critical thinking and minimizes the common focus that there is a “right” way to approach individualized client care. Peer-led experiences are the focus of this course and the subsequent learning environment is intended to serve both students and faculty.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

A peer-to-peer-case-based learning course was converted to serve a blended learning clinical program. The conversion of the program containing a team – taught case-based learning class was conducted between 2013 – 2014. Prior to conversion, this on-campus case-based learning course was offered for close to a decade with minimal adaptation. Upon conversion of our clinical program to a blended program, this course underwent significant alteration with contribution from previous faculty and students involved in this course.

The course was held online as student clinicians were also onsite for their clinical internships. It was held as a 12 week course with eight faculty offering specific weeks. In each week a detailed biomedical case was provided by the faculty member and a “lead-student” was assigned. The lead student would review the case prior to the start of each week and assign a detailed question about the case to each of her peers. By the middle of each week, each student will post a thorough response using adequate biomedical references to the forum as well as a response to a peer’s posting. In practice, the forums were busy areas of conversation more than the expected singular response.

Concurrently, in a separate forum, the lead student would also post their perceived assessment of the case as well as their clinical care goals (both long and short term). Each non-lead student would then post their own, highly specific, recommendations for the client including dietary, lifestyle, and therapeutic medicinal prescriptions. Peer critique and response posting was also required.

Faculty contributed to both forums, moderating the biomedical question responses and adding to, or correcting if needed, the student responses. They also commented on the goals and the plans and ultimately contributed their own strategies to the mix.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

Please see the attached supportive documentation for evidence as well as the following summary.

Overview
The conversion of the program containing a team – taught case-based learning class was conducted between 2013 – 2014. Prior to conversion, this on-campus case-based learning course was offered for close to a decade with minimal adaptation. Upon conversion of our clinical program to a blended program, this course underwent significant alteration with contribution from previous faculty and students involved in this course.
A survey of the students in their newly designed course was conducted, as was a survey of the faculty team (many new to any type of alternative delivery) who were able to compare (from their perspective) the new adaptation to the old format.

Student Survey Results
Nine of the twelve students participating in this course responded to the survey. Overall, all students reported learning “Significantly” or “Immensely” from 1) their peers, 2) In their own research, and 3) Writing answers to the peer-generated questions. No students reported learning “Minimally” or “Nothing” in any of the categories listed, although two students reported learning only “Somewhat” from the faculty (as a peer driven course this is partially expected and is consistent with previous feedback).
Being assigned a question from their peers was rated as an effective way to learn by 100% of the responders, and the assigning the questions to their peers was seen as an effective way to learn by 89% of them. Central to peer –based learning, 95% of students reported reading all or most of their peers submissions in all categories.
Overall, 100% of the students felt this was an “effective way to explore case studies”.

Faculty Survey
Six faculty who team-teach this course were surveyed on their perception of the course, often in relation to their prior experience with the F2F version. All faculty had previous taught in this course, generally for many years. For many of them, it was their first experience with alternative methods of delivery.

All faculty agreed that students were learning “Immensely” or “Significantly” from 1) their peers, 2) in their own research and 3) by writing their goals and plans. Answering peer-based questions was more controversial from faculty perception (although not from student perception).

Faculty were also surveyed about their own learning in the course and 100% of them reported that they themselves learned from the answers students reported to the peer-generated questions. More than half of them also reported learning from the questions from students, the goals and plans, and from their own research and preparation.
In the direct comparison of the online and F2F versions of the course, faculty overwhelmingly reported that he online version of this course was similar or better for all categories (except student engagement which was scored, on average, similar to the in class environment) particularly for biomedical understanding and peer-to-peer learning.

Overall, 100% of faculty felt that this was an effective way to explore case studies and 83% of them felt this was an overall “improved educational experience over the F2F version”.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

This practice relates to pillars in three areas.

Most importantly, the learning effectiveness of the peer-to-peer case based learning was critical. In comparison to the F2F environment students were more equally engaged and given adequate time to bring in significant outside resources. In the surveys conducted, students and faculty overwhelmingly reported high scored in learning effectiveness.

Faculty satisfaction in this was was reflected by the surprisingly high number of faculty reporting significant learning beyond their more standard preparation for the course. In the survey, 100% of faculty reported they learned from the replies to the peer-generated questions.

Lastly, student satisfaction was significant to this course, with 100% of students feeling this was an effective way to engage in case-based peer-to-peer learning.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

An LMS or comparable online discussion forum.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

N/A

References, supporting documents: 

Please see the attached document for their student and faculty surveys.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Bevin Clare
Email this contact: 
bclare@muih.edu