Making Learning Real with Problem-Based Case Learning

About this Website

This Making Learning Real website is a comprehensive resource for teachers who are considering or already using Problem-Based Case Learning (PBCL). Throughout the site you will find videos featuring actual instructors, students, and business people often in authentic classroom situations. You'll also find useful classroom tools, information about professional development programs, and other resources.

The Making Learning Real website is a collaboration between the Innovation in Teaching and Learning for Technological Education (ITL) project team at Nashville State Community College and the WGBH Educational Foundation. This website is one aspect of a large-scale resource development and dissemination project focused on PBCL and funded by a National Science Foundation grant.

Project Origins

The website, Making Learning Real with Problem-Based Case Learning, builds on the foundations, experience, and research of the following earlier projects:

TEFATE (1998)

The Tennessee Exemplary Faculty for Advanced Technological Education (TEFATE) project began with a goal to improve technological education through the development of a new associate of applied science curriculum in communications technology. The TEFATE projected culminated in an unexpected additional outcome: when it discovered that case studies were being used in many educational programs for business, law, medicine, and education but in very few programs for technology, the project team developed case studies for use in the communications technology curriculum.

SEATEC (1999—2001)

The South East Advanced Technological Education Consortium (SEATEC) project received funding to promote improvement in technological education through case-based instructional delivery in two-year colleges. To develop and field test a series of real-world model cases that reflected the needs of business as well as the needs of students, the SEATEC project team collaborated with business and industry partners. In addition, the SEATEC project team established a Learning Cycle as the structure for guiding students through working a case. This cycle, adapted by SEATEC for use in technological education, is based on a guided cyclical process developed and piloted at Vanderbilt University and the framework described in How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School, published by the National Research Council. The results of the SEATEC project demonstrated the benefits of the case-based approach, the business/industry partnership, and the Learning Cycle.

Case Files (2002—2006)

Funded in September 2002, the Case Files project leveraged the tools and processes developed during TEFATE and SEATEC. The Case Files project used the Learning Cycle as a design tool for faculty from across the nation to design, codevelop, and implement the innovative, student-centered teaching and learning process that came to be known as the Problem-Based Case Learning (PBCL) approach. Early predictions made by the evaluator of TEFATE project, Roger Deveau, Professor, Department of Business Information Systems, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, have been verified. The Case Files project has become "a catalyst for reforming the learning experience for students in engineering and information technology programs throughout the nation." At The Case Files website, you can view archived cases constructed from an earlier version of the PBCL Cycle. The Case Files project continues its evolution from project to practice through what is now known as Innovation in Teaching and Learning (ITL).

CITE (2002—2008)

The Center for Information Technology Education (CITE) was funded by NSF to focus on improving technological education through partnerships among secondary schools, community colleges, and business partners. These business/educator partnerships created the foundation for many of the early PBCL cases. CITE also sponsored or co-sponsored three national Synergy Conferences to help disseminate the PBCL process nationwide.

You can learn more about the team that developed this website on the Credits page.

We hope that you find this site useful and welcome any comments or suggestions.