Pedagogy and Professional Development

Applied Learning and Case Studies: Preparing Students for the 21st Century

  • Arlesa Shephard (State University of New York College at Buffalo)


Higher education has placed increased interest on applied learning experiences. Furthermore, inquiry-based learning (IBL) provides a versatile framework for learning that supports 21st century skills. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of applied learning using the IBL framework in an upper-level fashion course through student case study development. The course used in this study focuses on contemporary issues within the global fashion industry. A questionnaire was used to evaluate students’ experience with the project. Analysis resulted in four themes: self-directed inquiry, information processing, skill development, and future applications. Students expressed that applied learning and self-directed inquiry encouraged problem-solving, critical thinking, and information literacy. Because students selected their own topics and resources, they believed that the project helped to better prepare them for working in the industry and recognize the relevance of the course content. The use of IBL has implications for other applied learning fashion courses.

Keywords: Pedagogy, Applied Learning, 21st Century Skills, Case Study

How to Cite:

Shephard, A., (2022) “Applied Learning and Case Studies: Preparing Students for the 21st Century”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 78(1). doi:



Published on
23 Sep 2022
Peer Reviewed