An Investigation of the Pedagogical Impact of Using Case-based Learning in a Undergraduate Biochemistry Course

Verena Kulak, Genevieve Newton


The use of case-based learning (CBL) provides students with diverse experiences in the classroom, including problem-solving, knowledge co-construction, communication, and group collaboration. Through these activities, students can explore and develop new knowledge, and acquire relevant skills that have application both in the classroom and beyond. While the majority of studies support the use of CBL as an active learning technique that confers positive pedagogical outcomes, most commonly the investigations compare CBL to a lecture-based method of course delivery. To address this issue, we investigated the pedagogical impact of CBL as compared to a non-CBL “mixture” of other active learning activities in an undergraduate biochemistry course, thereby allowing for a more detailed consideration of the case-specific elements of CBL.  It was observed that use of CBL prevented the increase in surface approach to learning that occurred across the semester in the non-CBL group, and improved performance in the course, most notably at the knowledge level of Bloom’s taxonomy. As well, there was an improvement in student perception of the appropriateness of the course workload. Overall, these findings support the use of CBL as a preferred active learning technique, and provide valuable insight into the outcomes associated with its use.


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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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