4.3 The Case Study Symptoms
The symptoms are the basic building material of the case study. No matter what kind
of case study the instructional developer chooses, the symptoms must be provided to the
trainees. Instructional developers should provide evidence or clues that will give the
symptoms to the trainee. Depending on the trainee's experience with using case studies as
well as the learning objective the case study supports, some clues may need to be more
obvious than others. Looking at the example case study in this text, the clues and symptoms
An engineer who used a candle to check for air leaks.
Various plant personnel who delayed notifying the control room of the fire.
The location of the fire in an area difficult to access.
The use of flammable materials to seal wall penetrations.
The existence of high air flow rates through various wall penetrations.
Cables damaged by fire that prevented automatic equipment operation.
Depending on the type of case study, you will need to provide facts or statements
from key characters that will lead the trainee toward the symptoms and training objective.
To do this, the developer may need to create story characters. Make these characters real,
with acceptable everyday names and ensure that they are human--not all bad or all good.
4.4 Writing the Case Study
The instructional developer should keep some specific points in mind when writing
the body of the case study.
Make the narrative as concise as possible; use graphs and figures to help present the
Case studies can date very quickly; therefore, use periods of time (e.g., one year)
rather than actual dates (e.g., September 1983).
Provide the cause of the event, either in the body of the case study as the example
shows, or in the lesson plan for other types of case studies.
Give factors that affected the severity of the event (i.e., what made the situation
State the lessons learned from the event, either by writing it into the case study as in
the example, or by providing it in the lesson plan for case study types.