Learner Outcome Attainment in Teaching Applied Ethics versus Case Methodology

Teaching Philosophy 35 (3):243-262 (2012)

Abstract
The primary purpose of this study is to identify differences in at­tainment of learning outcomes for ethics courses delivered using two distinct teaching approaches. The first approach uses a case based method in the context of applied moral issues within medical practice. The second approach surveys moral theories in the context of applied moral issues. Significant differences are found in the attainment of learner outcomes between the two groups. In particular, attainment of outcomes related to moral decision-making is higher in those students who take the course with a case based method. In contrast, attainment of outcomes related to personal beliefs about applied moral issues is higher in those students who take an introductory ethics course surveying moral theories in the context of applied issues. Neither of these results is especially surprising. What may be surprising, however, is that students in the case-based course do not appear attain learner outcomes with regard to applied moral issues despite studying those issues in detail. Finally, the assessment tool developed and refined through this study may be of use for assessment in a variety of ethics courses
Keywords Teaching Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0145-5788
DOI 10.5840/teachphil201235327
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