There are a lot of good uses for custom business cases. They can expose people to new ideas or situations, or document important decisions made by the organization. A good business case tells an exciting story right up to the point of the critical decision—readers are hooked, they are into the story, they understand what’s at stake and how it matters—and then the story stops and asks, “What would you do?”
The benefit of the case for learning is this question—“What would you do?”
When learners wrestle with the concepts, the constraints, and the situation, they are learning something. In order for this learning to lead to applicable performance in their own jobs, they need these things:
- A case that is relevant to their own situations
- Decisions to make
- Feedback about the results of their decisions
- Reflection linking their decisions and results to their own jobs
In my 5-Step Simulations™ method, I always advocate saving the “Reveal the Result” step for last, making sure that people get the resolution to the story. That works for business cases, too. If you are using a case that is based on real life, what really happened is usually of keen interest to the audience. Depending on how the decision making and discussions went, however, the “real answer” may be less important.
Side Note: The main difference between a case and a simulation is that cases are 3rd-person—the learners look in from an outside, advisory perspective—and simulations are 1st-person, where the learners are in the situation themselves and must act, and not merely advise.
If this is of interest to you, check out the Custom Business Case Template on my LearningSim site. This gives a simple, one-page set of instructions for selecting, organizing, and using business cases.
Stories matter. If you are ever in need of a new story or help writing or using custom business cases, give me a call!