Making Learning Real with Problem-Based Case Learning

Creating a Business Partnership

PBCL practitioners nationwide have discovered that any size or type of business—small or large, local or national, commercial or nonprofit—can create the basis for a good partnership. What makes a good partnership? It's one that provides a high return on investment for all of the partners. Do the instructor and students get more value from the partnership than their cost in time and effort? Is the value to the business partner greater than the value of the time and effort spent on the partnership?

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Creating a Business Partnership video

Making Learning Real


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Instructors, students, and business partners can all gain tremendous value from their partnership. Students get a chance to take on meaningful problem solving in a real-time, real-world situation. Businesses get fresh insights, thoughtful and enthusiastic attention to their concerns, and a better-trained future workforce.

Does finding a business partner sound like a very daunting task? While the process of recruiting business partners may take instructors outside of their comfort zones, most have found available resources that simplify the process significantly. Among the resources that instructors have found valuable are:

  • Chambers of commerce and other commercial/industry associations
  • Local advisory boards
  • Technical councils
  • Adjunct faculty
  • Federal, state, and local governmental agencies that support small, minority-owned, or women-owned businesses
  • Connections with businesses and non-profits that instructors have made in their daily lives

The value students get out of this, I believe, is a deeper sense of engagement in their learning process. If that happens, then when those students graduate, they're better prepared, more qualified to come into the businesses that desperately need good graduates to help this country move forward. And that's the value of Problem-Based Case Learning. It is—no kidding—getting our young people where they need to be for the future.

— Chris Beck
Business Development Manager, EDS

Download Useful Resources for Finding Business Partners (PDF).

Go to the Course/Business Matching on the PBCL Cycle At-a-glance page to see an example of course/business matching in Dale Rogers's classroom.

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two women discussing a proposal
Small business owner Laurie Roe consults with Paula Roberts, director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Tennessee State University.