Abstract: The Effectiveness of Case-Based and Problem-Based Learning in Social Work Education: A Systematic Review (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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The Effectiveness of Case-Based and Problem-Based Learning in Social Work Education: A Systematic Review

Friday, January 13, 2023
Hospitality 1 - Room 443, 4th Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Anne Farina, PhD, Assistant Professor, Seattle University
Hye-Kyung Kang, PhD
Background: Case-based and problem-based learning approaches have been used widely across social work curriculum. The purpose of this review was to identify, describe, and synthesize the available evidence of the effects of case-based and problem-based learning on student learning of social work topics. In addition, this review looked at the common and specific components that were effective in student learning.

Methods: Systematic review methods were used to find, select, and synthesize studies that met eligibility criteria for this review. Descriptive analysis was conducted that included information about study participants, study settings, intervention characteristics, outcomes measured, and risk of bias. The sample size, mean, and standard deviation for all outcomes measured were reported, along with the estimates of the effect sizes for each included study.

Results: After the initial screening of the titles and abstracts, there were 62 studies remaining that went through the full text review process. Of these studies, 19 met full inclusion criteria and were included in this review. For case-based and problem-based learning approaches, effects were found for student learning, student self-confidence, student and instructor satisfaction, student skill-building, and connection between classroom and practice. Thematic analysis was used to identify key areas of lessons learned and recommendations for this approach that included: need for extra support from instructors, time set aside for explaining the process, and clear expectations for students.

Conclusions and Implications: Case-based and problem-based learning are promising approaches for teaching a variety of topics in social work education but the evidence of the effects is sparse, with significant methodological issues and risk of bias across studies. This review highlights the need for further examination of these approaches and the results can help inform future research.