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Abstract

This article explores whether active learning techniques can be effectively introduced to large group lectures in the context of legal professional training. It is limited to the perspective of the students (trainee solicitors). It is evident from research literature that a student-centred approach in the form of active learning techniques engages students and is considered a more effective form of teaching than the traditional lecturing style generally adopted at higher level education. There is a distinctive gap in the research literature relating to professional education. This article discusses a small scale qualitative study which adopted an action research methodology to determine the effectiveness of active learning techniques in this particular context. The study was confined to the introduction of two particular techniques, an in-class computation exercise and a re-cap technique, to the traditional lecture format. The views of a small focus group of trainee solicitors from the Law Society’s of Ireland Professional Practice Course were engaged. Findings from this study indicate that active learning techniques are effective in achieving learning outcomes from a trainees’ perspective. The author concludes that limitations of the use of the techniques can be overcome. Important directions for future research include in-depth analysis of the effectiveness of the techniques in preparing trainee solicitors for the professional role.

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