Why Do We Fall? Using Experiences of Failure to Design Case Libraries

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Andrew A. Tawfik
David H. Jonassen
C. Wayne Keene


Instructional designers can support ill-structured problem solving through case libraries that detail domain-specific principles. In this design project, case libraries were employed in an undergraduate sales management course to contextualize knowledge and describe the ill-structured nature of how solutions are derived to solve authentic problems. Whereas many learning environments employ examples of model behavior (Jonassen, 2011), this instructional design was innovative in that the case libraries consisted of sales management failure experiences as the means to facilitate learning. The failure cases embedded within the learning environment engendered design tensions on multiple levels throughout the instructional design. Specifically, this article discusses the issues of engaging the subject matter expert (SME) to talk about failure cases and subsequent challenges to translate the experiences into meaningful learning resources for ill-structured problem solving. Other challenges included how to strategically design the learning environment so that the case library was available at the optimal time for the learners. The design case concludes with a reflection upon the process.



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How to Cite
Tawfik, A. A., Jonassen, D. H., & Keene, C. W. (2012). Why Do We Fall? Using Experiences of Failure to Design Case Libraries. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.14434/ijdl.v3i1.2065
Author Biographies

Andrew A. Tawfik, Concordia University Chicago

Dr. Andrew A. Tawfik is an assistant professor of Instructional Design and Technology at Concordia University Chicago where he serves as an instructor of educational technology. He earned his PhD in Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri. Tawfik’s research interests include problembased learning, case-based reasoning, case library instructional design, and computer-supported collaborative learning.

David H. Jonassen, University of Missouri

Dr. David H. Jonassen is Curators’ Professor at the University of Missouri where he teaches in the areas of Learning Technologies and Educational Psychology. Since earning his doctorate in educational media and experimental educational psychology from Temple University, Jonassen has taught at the University of Missouri, Pennsylvania State University, University of Colorado, the University of Twente in the Netherlands, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Syracuse University. He has published thirty-five books and hundreds of articles, papers, and reports on text design, task analysis, instructional design, computer-based learning, hypermedia, constructivism, cognitive tools, and problem solving. His current research focuses on the cognitive processes engaged by problem solving and models and methods for supporting those processes during learning, culminating in a book, Learning to Solve Problems: A Handbook for Designing Problem-Solving Learning Environments.

C. Wayne Keene, University of Missouri

Assistant Teaching Professor

Trulaske College of Business

University of Missouri