Problem-Based Case Learning is a teaching and learning methodology that directly applies students’ subject knowledge to real professional challenges. Students take on an actual problem faced by a business. Integrating subject knowledge, 21st century skills, and project-based learning, the approach appeals to students who want real-world experience. Projects are not just in-class learning experiences—because students are solving real problems, they can add these experiences to their résumés.
The project begins with an instructor and a business partner jointly designing a problem for which there is no one clear solution. Students then work in teams. Using and building their knowledge of relevant subjects, they develop a solution. The instructor and business partner facilitate the process and make a final assessment of the students’ performances.
The PBCL approach can be useful with almost any subject. The problem comes from the real world and, as such, is often unique. An architecture class at one community college partnered with the college’s building committee to design a wellness center. Web design classes created Web sites for a non-profit organization and a retail business.
While PBCL originated in two-year colleges’ technical education programs, secondary schools have applied the methodology with success to a wide range of STEM content.