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Moving from lectures to transactional learning: simulating probate

Tom Serby (Anglia Ruskin University) presented a poster on the introduction of a simulated transactional learning environment on the Legal Practice Course (LPC).

  • Download Tom’s poster (PowerPoint file, 1.84 MB) at the bottom of the page.

This poster describes a transactional learning project involving full time students on the Legal Practice Course. A nine week online simulation replaced six face to face probate lectures, with students working in groups of four or five as firms of solicitors on a case study simulating the process of dealing with the estate of a deceased individual. The simulation was supported by a virtual environment as realistic as possible within the resource constraints of the project. The students interacted both face to face and online, with online communications within the firm and to and from actor agencies utilising the discussion forum in WebCT.

Tutor design and support of the project involved:

  • producing a ‘script’ for the activity, identifying the agencies who needed to be involved and the documentation to be used by the students
  • assembling documentation to be placed into the learning environment (transcriptions were handled by the technical development team)
  • delivering student induction, including preliminary documentation, in conjunction with the technical development team
  • participating in the simulation in a range of actor roles
  • contributing to the final evaluation of the project

The poster outlines:

  • how the difficulties involved in designing and implementing new more transactional and more flexible non classroom based learning were overcome
  • how the issue of the allocation of increased staff time inherent in developing new ways of teaching can be dealt with in a university where very little online transactional learning has previously been attempted
  • how the problem of transforming the negative attitudes of some lecturers towards non classroom based teaching was overcome
  • the lessons learned from greater cooperative working between separate elements of the university (for example learning and teaching technologists and academics)

The project evaluation found that students reflected more on how to effect legal processes than formerly, when they sat through lectures explaining the legal procedures followed by practising solicitors – ‘learning by doing’ greatly improved the students’ learning experience in comparison with ‘learning by listening’. .

About Tom

Tom Serby has taught on the Legal Practice Course for five years and was appointed Part Time LPC Course Leader at Anglia Ruskin in April 2008. He implemented on his initiative a paradigm shift to the structure of the part time LPC Part Time introducing podcasting of business law and practice large group sessions.
Tom has received two Anglia Ruskin University Learning and Teaching Fellowships and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Last Modified: 9 July 2010