Making Learning Real with Problem-Based Case Learning

The Situation

The instructor, often together with the business partner, introduces the students to the business, the problematic situation, and the PBCL cycle. The students begin their quest to uncover the messy problem within the situation and use the PBCL cycle to provide structure for the messiness.

As mentioned on the Orientation Introduction page, we are going to introduce you to a problematic situation that ABC News presented to IDEO, a world known product design firm, called the "Deep Dive". Once you have completed the video, we will explore and overlay the different parts of the PBCL cycle and see how they can be used to provide a structure to IDEO's design process. We will also show examples of how that step on the cycle is being implemented by faculty in their classrooms.

Deep Dive


If you were on IDEO's team, the Situation would be that you are on a team of designers commissioned to envision, research, design and produce a new and improved shopping cart. You need to consider the critical issues of shopping, safety, check out, and finding what you want.

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The Deep Dive was broadcast in 1999 by ABC Nighline. It is the most popular broadcast ever by Nightline and is a good representation of the ideal for PBCL.