The last 12 months has seen major changes in how future lawyers become qualified.
For barristers, the previous BPTC route has been replaced with courses across the UK’s various training providers. While for solicitors, the new Solicitors Qualifying Examination offers an alternative route to becoming a qualified legal professional.
These changes in the marketplace have also borne new providers and competition, giving would-be trainees more options and accessibility to legal training. While this offers an advantage in terms of value and choice, not every course or training provider is the same.
Many students will naturally choose a course to get them past their mandatory assessments, potentially prioritising exam success over the skills they need for working in practice. However, technology at one of the UK’s most established Law Schools has developed an approach that develops both of these crucial factors.
Courses for trainee solicitors and barristers which use an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered learning platform to help students succeed in not only their professional legal qualifications, namely the SQE and the Bar Standards Board assessments, but also in their future careers within the legal industry are increasingly vital for students.
So how does an AI learning platform work?
Students are best served by leveraging AI technology which offers a unique learning path that’s specific to their behaviours, progress and engagement. This gives them the “optimum balance” of expert teaching, peer learning and self-study during their course. Regular testing across the programme, which also includes instant feedback that maximises study time, will also ensure maximum recall during assessments and later when working in practice. In addition, the personalised aspect of this approach means that each student is given specific learning materials to develop their progress. This allows students to develop at their own pace, rather than using a blanket approach from other training providers which doesn’t consider individual aptitude or progress.
There are several tools that form part of the technology students should embrace
1. Machine Learning: Working alongside in-person teaching, machine learning “generates a personalised learning plan for every student to ensure each student is presented with the right resources…at the right time,” commented Andrew Chadwick, Dean of BPP Law School
Utilising machine learning also allows Law Schools to focus on wellbeing by helping staff to identify study patterns, such as prolonged or late-night study, which may be detrimental to a student’s health. This will allow tutors to work directly with individuals to review study plans and help create safer and more effective study habits.
2. Virtual Practice Environment
Having built and consolidated knowledge through expert teaching and the use of technology, students’ learning will be best served by using a virtual practice environment. Described as being purpose-built for students to put their learning into context and consolidate knowledge, a virtual practice environment emulates ‘real-world practice’ through a typical intranet that is common within a law firm or chambers. The virtual practice environment provides a series of real-life experience-based online learning tasks that students can learn from.
Students should select their university based on the level of investment in this technology, because it allows an approach to studying which will achieve, according to Andrew Chadwick , “long term, deep learning” for students. The benefit of this is aimed at helping students being better prepared for assessments and practice.
Will this replace traditional legal teaching?
While some may consider this to be the case in the long-term, these education platforms are vital enhancements to the core education system and will allow students to better refine their learning. However, collaborative peer learning guided by an expert tutor is still the basis of the highest quality teaching programmes. This new technology isn’t designed to isolate students, but rather help foster a close relationship between peers and tutors to aid in learning.
What is behind AI learning?
Such leading EduTech programmes are supported by teachers, neuroscientists and technologists who work together to create and develop artificial intelligence learning tools for all types of educational environments. Students are advised to select schools on the basis of substantial investments in such EduTech programmes. For example, BPP has invested more than £1.5 million into the creation of this new platform over the last 12 months, which is currently featured in the BTC programme and soon in their SQE training packages. The future of legal education is ‘now’, so do not compromise in the choosing the right institution that embraces the latest technology practices at its heart.