Case based learning among practicing engineers: design, facilitation and lessons learned

Sarah MASLEN, Jan Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Presentations and workshops on disaster cases for professional development purposes are popular among engineers. Despite common use of such case based learning, there has been only limited investigation into this practice in a hazardous industry context. Based on the literature on case based learning, this paper presents findings from five workshops on the causation of the Überlingen mid-air aircraft collision in 2002 with 43 Australian pipeline project personnel. Using Kolb’s four-stage model of experiential learning, the analysis shows how the case offers a concrete experience, an opportunity for reflective observation and abstract conceptualization in group discussion, and space to experiment with and apply lessons to participants’ own sector completing the learning cycle. Participants were able to take both lessons about principles of organizational safety and technical aspects, suggesting far greater potential for this training approach than acknowledged in previous studies. We conclude with observations about what makes for an effective case, and how to best structure and facilitate the learning experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-319
Number of pages13
JournalCognition, Technology and Work
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


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