Investigative Case-Based Learning (ICBL)

The investigative case based learning approach is a method of learning and teaching that gives students opportunities to direct their own learning as they explore the science underlying realistically complex situations.

Investigative case-based learning is student-centered.

Students identify issues and frame questions of interest to themselves and in the process they also learn to:

· locate and manage information;
· develop reasonable answers to the questions;
· provide support for their conclusions, and;
· work on decision making abilities.

The cases serve as springboards to student-designed investigations.

Students structure their own learning, using the "story" of the case as a focus. Although the case defines the general area of biology under investigation, students generate the questions that will define their own topic of study. These cases are useful for lifelong learning because they are open-ended and draw from a broad range of situations in which biology and scientific reasoning can be applied. Open-ended cases necessarily shift the focus of student learning beyond the facts of science to include using scientific knowledge to frame questions and to answer them.

Investigative case-based approaches to biology encourage problem posing, problem solving, and persuasion.

Instructors as well as the students are collaborators in this process. As students pose problems, try to solve them, and present conclusions that represent their own findings to others, both the instructor and other students may serve as resources for methods and for aid in defining potential strengths and weaknesses in the design of the problem statement and the investigation. The resolution(or clarification) of the problem and its presentation to other students as well as to the instructor extend opportunities for student practice in utilizing and evaluating scientific approaches to problem solving.

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