Employing case studies to develop professional skills in South African accountancy students: a comparative follow-up study
Van der Merwe, Nico
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Some of the main challenges faced in accounting education are developing professional skills and encouraging deep learning in students. The literature offers numerous accounts of the case study method as a successful tool for developing professional skills and linking theory with practice. This paper reports on a follow-up study which aimed to contribute to the field in three ways: 1) in corroborating the findings of a prior study on case studies as a tool to develop professional skills, 2) by investigating whether changes in the way the case study was administered had an effect on students' perceived development, and 3) by gaining some insight into the actual learning that took place by analyzing the assessment outcomes. The findings show that the changes in the way the assignment was administered had no significant effect on the perceptions of students, but that team selection and the provision of homework assistance should be carefully considered. The assessment results support students' generally positive perceptions on their development of certain professional skills, although deep learning seems to remain a challenge. The paper highlights the importance of research in the field of teaching and learning in accounting education in order to better equip accounting students for the "real world".