Evaluating the effectiveness of problem-based learning as a method of engaging year one law students

Joanne Clough, Gillian Shorter

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    The focus of this paper is a critical assessment of the effectiveness of a problem based learning exercise introduced to increase student engagement within a year one, core law degree module at Northumbria University. Problem based learning as a teaching method was developed by medical schools in the US and Canada in the 1960s and 1970s and has steadily grown in popularity, particularly within law schools. By presenting students with a reality based problem, and requiring students to resolve that problem in teams, they should find an increased motivation to learn. This paper explores the rationale behind the use of problem based learning as a means of engaging students and will outline how the project was designed and implemented into the curriculum. Although both students and lecturers verbally reported an improvement in confidence and an increase in engagement, formal student perceptions were obtained through the use of an evaluation questionnaire. The paper details a full breakdown of the survey, which covers not only issues relating to student engagement but also student perceptions of group work and skills acquired.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)277-302
    JournalLaw Teacher
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Mar 2015


    • Problem based learning
    • Law students
    • Motivation
    • Student engagement
    • Learning and Teaching


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