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Negotiating the web: legal skills learning in a virtual community

Maharg, Paul (2001) Negotiating the web: legal skills learning in a virtual community. International Review of Law, Computers and Technology, 15 (3). pp. 345-361. ISSN 1360-0869

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Abstract

The web is a powerful medium for simulation and role play. It can thus be used for transactional learning, provided that the activities are sufficiently interactive and are designed to support the transaction. This article focuses on the use of web simulation to facilitate learning in Personal Injury negotiation. The underlying model of the simulation is constructivist. Students were divided into 'firms' and negotiated with each other over several months using virtual offices and a web-based virtual community. The results, both qualitative and quantitative, prove that the web can be used successfully in a number of forms of legal skills learning. The results also reveal the need to provide not only integrated resources for learning on the web, but also to support students' divergent learning in simulations and enable their social construction of knowledge within such web-based environments.