When you use a hornbook or the examples and explanations type books, it is more of a textbook type overview. That will probably be the most familiar to you. It is the way most of us learned in college. They will have short excerpts from the cases, so you get the benefit of having the author explain most of it for you. All you have to do in reading that material is digest the material and figure out how a new set of facts would fall into place.
With the casebooks, that is a little harder. The court applies the law to a new set of facts, but often, you are left trying to decipher exactly what they said and how their analysis will apply to other cases. This method takes a little getting used to, but you will get it.
Research and writing is a whole new breed of learning. It is much different than what any writing class in undergrad went over. It is basically a whole new style of writing.