Case studies are an incredibly valuable component to add to eLearning, when they’re well-written, but how do you go about writing one that’s going to be both engaging and effective?
You want the message to be powerful, and you want it to be something that resonates with employees in a way that’s going to have a long-term impact on their behavior and decision-making skills.
So here are the top five tips for creating an outstanding case study to include in your corporate eLearning.
Follow a logical flow of information that simultaneously tells a story. As we’ve recently discussed, case studies are a great opportunity to help employees develop soft skills, and show them techniques to approach particular situations within the workplace. With a case study, begin by organizing your thoughts to flow from providing the background needed to assess the problem, and then continue on as you tell a logical, sequential story. The story should really center on laying out a problem, and then solving that problem.
Create your case study with relevancy as your top priority. One of the primary ways you engage an adult learner is by creating a sense of relevancy, and that should be apparent in your case study. Before you begin writing or developing any type of case study, identify how it will be relevant to your employees in a specific, day-to-day way.
Think outside the box when it comes to the perspective from which the case study is written. Since case studies are great for introducing and developing your employees’ soft skills, use the perspective of the material to create a sense of empathy or understanding on the part of your employee. For example, you may initially approach writing a corporate case study from the point of view of an employee, but instead, to create an emotional connection that can lead to behavioral changes, consider writing it from the perspective of a client. This will help guide the decision-making process of your employees in a way that’s based on the needs of the client. This can be particularly helpful not only in leadership development training, but also eLearning targeted to customer service training.
Simple is always best. This tends to be the biggest downfall when writing corporate training case studies—the tendency to want to go overboard with the details. Yes, you want to provide relevant details to create a context for the problem and solution aspect of a case study, but you don’t want to add too many details because it can become confusing and your goals can be lost as employees feel like you’ve gone off on an unrelated tangent. As with most eLearning-based writing, keeping it concise keeps your learner engaged and makes more of an impact.
Don’t make the right answer obvious when you’re writing a case study. The goal is to encourage critical thinking and the development of soft and problem-solving skills, so if you spell out the solution right away in a case study, you’re not going to have as much effectiveness or meaningful skill development as is possible. Great case studies don’t necessarily mean your employees make the same decision as the person in the story—instead, case studies really help employees learn how to assess and analyze, and develop their own toolbox of problem-solving skills that can be applied across a variety of situations. Just because your employee doesn’t come to the same conclusion as the individual in the case study doesn’t mean it hasn’t been effective.
For many organizations developing case studies for their corporate eLearning and training, it may be helpful to outsource the written content, although every organization differs and some do have the capabilities to produce it in-house. Regardless of the path you take, when you determine a case study is appropriate for your specific eLearning, you have a tremendous opportunity to add value to your training materials and delve into the decision-making processes of your employees.
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