Pick a Path that Leads to Rome: Individualized Case Studies in an Online Professional Development Certificate Course

Concurrent Session 7

Brief Abstract

In this paper, we propose the individualized case studies as an effective approach to address professional learners’ needs, ultimately improving their learning efficiency and efficacy.

Additional Authors

Dr. Chen is a scholar dedicated to serve as a bridge between the worlds of academic research and educational practices. She is consistently seeking opportunities to contribute to projects that both enhance student learning and generate theoretical understanding about teaching and learning. Her research interests include medical education, faculty development, instructional design and technology, program evaluation, learning assessment, CALL, Design-based research, collaborative knowledge construction, and concept mapping.

Extended Abstract

Despite the substantial increase in the professional development courses and programs and the unique learner characteristics of working professionals, there remains a significant gap in research investigating the effective instructional methods and models that will better cater professional learners’ needs. In this paper, we propose the individualized case studies as an effective approach to address professional learners’ needs, ultimately improving their learning efficiency and efficacy. The individualized case studies were successfully implemented in a completely online professional development certificate course. Learners were presented with three case study paths and self-identified and enrolled in the case study path that was most relevant to their professional background. Best practices and lessons learned from this course design and implementation process are shared with other practitioners interested in providing individualized learning experience to online learners.