Purpose: the purpose of this paper is to understand the impact of real, localized case studies on students’ learning engagement, the learning process and learning experience and the role of such case studies in influencing students’ learning outcomes. Design/methodology/approach: data were collected from 400 undergraduate students through an online questionnaire immediately after discussion of the case in business information systems classes. Student learning from the case study was measured by two components consisting of case knowledge and case perceptions. The student course engagement questionnaire was used to examine engagement in skills, emotions, participation and performance while the study process questionnaire was administered to assess students’ learning approaches. Additionally, the seven predominant roles of the feedback were used to analyse students’ learning experience. Finally, students’ learning outcomes were assessed both in group performance and individual performance. Structure equation modelling was applied to test the causal model. Findings: the results revealed that the case study had a positive influence on students’ engagement in skills and emotions. Moreover, case perceptions led students to surface approach in their learning. Furthermore, case knowledge had a positive impact on the learning experience. Research limitations/implications: the study suggests that localized case studies should be designed cautiously. Furthermore the method of instruction regarding the method must be clearly explained for undergraduate students. Future research should consider a way of evaluating academic achievement as a result of using localized cases. Originality/value: the findings reported in the paper contributed to an area of educational research by emphasizing on the mediating role of learning engagement, the learning process and the learning experience. Emerald group publishing limited.