Teaching with Cases in Disaster and Emergency Management Programs: Instructional Design Guidance

March 2019 (VOL. 37, NO. 1)

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There is a long history of the use of cases in teaching in post-secondary programs and some fields (e.g., law, medicine, business) have their own distinctive approach to the use of case-based learning methods. Within disaster and emergency management (DEM), which is a relatively new field of post-secondary study, there are as of yet no formally recognized approaches to the use of cases in teaching, and further there is limited research on the disciplinary characteristics of teaching practices in the DEM field. This article presents findings from a study that explored how and why cases are used in post-secondary DEM programs. The methodological approach to the study supported the development of a domain-based outcome theory that explains three different approaches for using casebased learning methods in DEM programs and the functions of cases relative to each of the different types of learning outcomes. This novel conceptual framework for teaching with cases was found to address deficiencies in existing schema for conceptualizing the use of cases in teaching.