Integrating failure in case-based learning: a conceptual framework for failure classification and its instructional implications

  • Hui RongEmail author
  • Ikseon Choi
Research Article


Employing authentic cases experienced by practitioners in educational contexts is critical to expanding students’ experience and engaging students in authentic problems to promote their real-world problem-solving skills. Although in real life, practitioners experience both success and failure and learn from both, little research has been done so far to conceptualize why and how failure should be employed in case-based learning (CBL) as a way to develop students’ abilities to solve ill-structured problems. The goal of this paper is to theoretically justify the need for integrating failure cases in CBL to help students become better problem solvers. To achieve this, this paper attempted to approach failure from the perspective of human error and proposed a classification of failure based on the degree of explicitness of human error involved in problem solving. Based on discussions of potential benefits and challenges of integrating different types of failure cases in education, this paper also proposed instructional design strategies that can help facilitate better use of failure cases.


Failure Case-based learning Problem solving 



This manuscript comprises part of a manuscript style (multiple related journal articles) Dissertation the first author submitted to the University of Georgia.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMass Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.The University of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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