Covering for a sick colleague at our sister site across the river, this week I found myself unexpectedly overseeing library support for the PLR, the practical legal research assessment for the LPC (solicitor training). We teach online and in-centre research classes and refreshers ahead of this, and then the students have some thirty hours real time to analyse, research and advise on a legal problem for a fictitious client. I think it’s a great assessment model (with certain reservations around the practicalities). I enjoyed writing on it as part of my second PGCPHE module.
Since undertaking the PGCPHE and learning more about how adults learn, I have taken to making reference to the PLR when teaching GDL (law conversion) students at my centre. These students undertake a long essay on a set topic, researching the law in the area. I have found it helps them understand the andragogical purpose, and why they are asked to do this – in part, they are learning the research methodology and skills they will need to apply under greater time pressure for the PLR, and this in turn is preparation for using these skills once in practice. I don’t talk to them about Situated Learning, and legitimate peripheral participation, but that’s what I’m thinking about.