Using virtual reality to enhance the law school curriculum

Jones, Emma; Ryan, Francine; McFaul, Hugh; Vince, David; Kizilkaya, Lawrence and Daniels, Jamie (2023). Using virtual reality to enhance the law school curriculum. In: Tharanj, Ann and Gledhill, Kris eds. Teaching Legal Education in the Digital Age: Pedagogical Practices to Digitally Empower Law Graduates. Routledge.



In recent years, the use of technology and the potential gamification of higher education has been widely reported on. This interest has begun to be mirrored within legal education, with increasingly innovative demonstrations of the use of technology in law curriculums across the globe. However, despite this growing enthusiasm, virtual reality has, to date, been barely utilised within Law Schools and there has been little reported research into its potential development and uses. This chapter will explore the future possibilities afforded by its inclusion within the law school curriculum, drawing on the example of a virtual reality application designed to improve students’ presentation skills as part of a clinical legal education programme at The Open University, UK. Based upon the empirical data obtained from the piloting of The Open University's bespoke law application, the discussion will focus in particular on virtual reality's potential to develop students’ future readiness in terms of legal and employability skills, such as mooting and oral presentation. Overall, this chapter will argue that virtual reality has the potential to enhance the delivery of the law school curriculum, but that there are significant pedagogic and practical challenges that may arise during the design and incorporation of such applications. It will provide suggestions for further developments and refinements in the way that virtual reality applications are designed and delivered to ensure that the possibilities are fully exploited by legal educators to digitally empower students.

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