© 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited.Purpose: This paper presents a set of instrumental case studies for the context-based learning of BIM in the milieu of knowledge-based practice in the AEC industry. The study aimed to examine students' actions and perspectives in a simulated learning environment for real-world BIM processes. The core intent was to provide an in-depth understanding of strategic and functional BIM implementation by synthesizing a suggestive pedagogical framework based on context-based learning approaches. Design/methodology/approach: Derived from context-based approaches and experiential learning methods such as role-play, problem-based and active learning, the study involved a set of doctoral-level case studies. In a qualitative research study, these cases were devised and organized around industry-focused simulations on various levels of BIM implementation strategies. Findings: Results from the case studies and the student responses suggest that the comprehensive evaluation of real-world BIM implementation simulations facilitates a solid understanding of the value of BIM. The participation of industry professionals catalyzes the development of strategic and functional BIM competencies. Originality/value: The study proposes a well-structured and replicable BIM learning framework based on context-based learning approaches. The novel framework is adaptive and flexible for BIM education. It can provide students with the necessary skills, strategic vision and professional competencies for innovative practices in the 21st-century AEC Industry. The simulative learning settings, including the evaluation rubrics and connected instructional methods, can be implemented and further developed for similar education efforts.