A Framework for delivering legal research skills training online via a Virtual Learning Environment to be implemented at the School of Oriental and African\ud Studies
acm: ComputingMilieux_COMPUTERSANDEDUCATION | ComputingMilieux_LEGALASPECTSOFCOMPUTING
This research project aimed generally to investigate the use of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to deliver legal research skills training at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Legal research skills are an increasingly important part of students’ studies. It is vital that law graduates are equipped with the necessary skills to research a legal problem adequately to become a competent legal practitioner. As SOAS law students study not only English and EU law, but also the laws of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, they need to be able to develop research skills that enable them to find relevant regional material effectively, accurately and successfully.\ud \ud However, a number of problems have come to light at SOAS which have initiated a change in the way legal research skills training is currently delivered – including the\ud issue of student retention, high numbers of international students, diversity of students’ backgrounds and skills, and their different information needs. Thus, an investigation was undertaken into how SOAS can use the capabilities of a VLE to help change the current approach to legal research skills training.\ud \ud A questionnaire was delivered to all law students currently studying at SOAS to discover their specific information needs relating to legal research skills. Additionally, an evaluation policy was constructed using previous research and the experience of other institutions, to evaluate two existing legal research skills programmes available in the UK and Australia. The results of this evaluation and questionnaire help to inform\ud the construction of the framework.\ud \ud The results provided a general framework for the delivery of legal research skills training to undergraduate students at SOAS. By including the more generic skills as\ud well as specific legal research skills, this framework has a wider application and can, therefore, be used, compared and adapted for further research by other institutions.