Organizational Learning Case Study – Tips to Building One That Will Be Read

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We all know the value of a proper organizational learning case study. Case studies in any industry provide real world scenarios where real world issues are addressed by real world solutions by actual professionals in a given field. Without case studies such as these, research could never leave the hypothetical stage, and progress would grind to a halt in most areas of business and industry, let alone science. So, we look to case studies as examples of how something may work, not work, and how to address either in realistic ways. When it’s a field relevant to us, or one we are interested in, many of us feel compelled to write up case studies ourselves, not just to inspire others or to contribute to the zeitgeist as a whole, but also in hopes to gain input from others, and to get data from comparisons. This is a good thing, obviously, and we should follow this urge. Another reason for organizational learning case study creation is a way to motivate us to look at a challenge or scenario from a scientific and detached view, which may by its very mechanics lead us to a more effective and quick resolution than we otherwise might encounter. What will lead to a case study – one you invested a lot of effort into – being read by others? Well, there is no “one size fits all” answer. But, is there a science to case studies themselves? Yep. How can you make this a significant case study that will get input from colleagues, and inspire and aid those who look to it in times of need? Well, this is more about the human element, and presentation of information than it is about the nature of the study itself. The first thing to do is to look out there and see what problems, theories and scenarios are being talked about by people. Now, you don’t have to do a literal case study on one of them specifically, but they will give you clues about closely related subjects on which you can do a case study that will garner attention. Make sure that the situation is real. Don’t fabricate or instigate a situation in your environment with a case study in mind. Let something that gels with what you’re seeing be topical arise on its own, and then approach it from the collected, and organized scientific approach of a case study. Be sure that all aspects of a problem or scenario are clearly detailed, but try to keep industry-specific issues to a minimum, allusions at best. Being too specific to your industry may limit its relevance in the eyes of others in other industries who may otherwise gain inspiration from it. There are strategic questions of style in a case study – more images and less written word?  Fewer infographics and more text?  Well, it’s important to remember the limited attention span of the reader.  The most effective case studies have valuable information presented in an interesting, but short and concise fashion.  It’s important to remember that less is more.  And yes, images, if they directly relate to and support the text (and are not extraneous or simply “filler”), can be very effective.  Some readers learn and absorb information through visuals, so there is definitely a benefit to them. This is really all there is to ensuring that your organizational learning case study will be read, it’s on you to make sure that your data is good.
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog