Structuring Case-Based Ethics Training: How Comparing Cases and Structured Prompts Influence Training Effectiveness

Lauren Harkrider
Alexandra E. MacDougall, University of Oklahoma
Zhanna Bagdasarov, University of Oklahoma
James F. Johnson, University of Oklahoma
Chase E. Thiel, Central Washington University
Michael D. Mumford, University of Oklahoma
Shane Connelly, University of Oklahoma
Lynn D. Devenport, University of Oklahoma

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This study examined how structuring case-based ethics training, either through (a) case presentation or (b) prompt questions, influences training outcomes. Results revealed an interaction between case presentation and prompt questions such that some form of structure improved effectiveness. Specifically, comparing cases led to greater sensemaking strategy use and decision-ethicality when trainees considered unstructured rather than structured prompts. When cases were presented sequentially, structuring prompts improved training effectiveness. Too much structure, however, decreased future ethical decision making, suggesting that there can be too much of a good thing when structuring case-based ethics education. Implications for designing ethics training programs are discussed.