The Case Method and its Better Half

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The simulator is a technological tool that complements the classic case method and supports the development of individual learning. The simulator-based gaming experience allows students to determine the possible effects of their decisions and the impact generated.

By Consuelo Adelaida García de la Torre
cogarcia@itesm.mx

One of the teaching techniques most frequently used in graduate courses is the case method, which enables the group to analyze a case, make decisions and propose solutions jointly in class. Although the case method covers a whole series of aspects of collaborative learning, it does not verify students’ individual learning. In this regard, we are working on the development of a simulator as a technological learning resource that integrates scenarios, situations, narratives and game design components. This tool simulates a virtual gamified business work environment, in which students choose and take actions that generate impacts and consequences that can be observed in the results of the simulation. 

The simulator is a technological tool that supports the development of individual learning that cannot be achieved with the classic case method. It offers students an instant learning evaluation, though not a numerical grade, because we use a design based on the principles of gamification with “badges” that allow teachers to design and issue digital awards according to the outcome and consequences of the decisions made in the case. It also allows us to locate students in their progress toward the desired learning objective.  

The simulator is a technological tool that supports the development of individual learning that cannot be achieved with the classic case method.

The use of current local, national and regional casuistry exposes students to complex real-life situations. In this way, students follow a process in their decision-making, of three or four interactions in order to reach a result. The availability of employing a simulator as a technological training resource, regarding the company’s responsible actions in the face of ethical dilemmas, represents an interactive experience that favors a comprehensive preparation to develop students’ full human potential. Our aim is to contribute to the course objectives in relation to Corporate Ethics, Governance and Sustainability, proposed in the new MBA curriculum of the EGADE Business School of Tecnológico de Monterrey. 

To make decisions and propose solutions, students apply their knowledge in three dimensions: 

  1. The five universal principles (life, freedom, justice, peace and love), according to the case in question.
  2. Business ethics from a personal, social and global perspective.
  3. The 17 sustainable development goals of the UN Global Compact grouped in five “Ps” (people, prosperity, planet, peace and partnership). 

This allows students to determine the possible effects, resulting from the decisions made in the world of business, the responsibility assumed and the impacts generated. With a simulator-based gaming experience, we seek to trigger learning in a more effective, insightful way that leads the student to compete with him/herself.  

With a simulator-based gaming experience, we seek to trigger learning in a more effective, insightful way that leads the student to compete with him/herself.

Taking the case method and complementing it with a technological solution is quite a challenge, since this is a prestigious method that has produced good results in student learning. However, could the use of a technological platform like the simulator be the better half that drives student learning? We conducted a pilot test and are currently working on analyzing and interpreting the results of the impact of the use of the simulator on learning, in order to know what students perceive with and without this tool. We will soon be sharing the results with you through the Observatory of Educational Innovation.

Abut the author
Consuelo Adelaida García de la Torre holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration and is a level-1 member of the Mexican National System of Researchers (SNI1). She is also a full-time research professor at EGADE Business School of Tecnológico de Monterrey.