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This study sought to determine the usefulness of interrupted case studies, utilizing a progressive disclosure of information over time, to increase critical thinking and student learning in the study of foundational theories in the human development field. Apted’s (2013) Up documentary series, consisting of video interviews over a 49-year period, was used as the interrupted study and successfully provided vicarious, but meaningful, opportunities to consistently and authentically apply course content. Participants (N = 23) were students in three sections of a graduate Human Development course where a pre-/post-test format was utilized. The effect was significant as all participant’s posttest score improved an average of 24.3%, F(3, 19) = 3.55, p = .049. Also, coded student work indicated an increase in complex levels of thinking across the 8-week assignment, further validating post-test scores, t(352) = -3.172, p = .002. Evidence from student work further confirmed that an interrupted video case-study, could address limitations typically associated with case-based instruction and, more importantly, provide the critical case-study qualities needed here. Those included, telling a detailed, ambiguous, and real-life story that provided genuine context to connect theory and practice.
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