Second Life machinima enhancing the learning of law: Lessons from successful endeavours

Des Butler


A traditional approach centred on weekly lectures, perhaps supported by tutorials, still predominates in modern legal education in Australia. This approach tends to focus on the transmission of knowledge about legal rules and doctrine to students, who adopt a largely passive role. Criticisms of the traditional approach have led to law schools expanding their curricula to include the teaching of skills, including the skill of negotiation and an appreciation of legal ethics and professional responsibility. However, in a climate of limited government funding for law schools in Australia, innovation in legal education remains a challenge. This article considers the successful use of Second Life machinima in two interactive multimedia programs, Air Gondwana and Entry into Valhalla, and their part in the creation of engaging, effective learning environments. These programs not only engage students in active learning, but also facilitate flexibility in their studies and other benefits. The programs yield important lessons concerning the use of machinima innovations in curricula for academics involved in legal education as well as those in other disciplines, especially those that rely on traditional passive lectures in their teaching and learning approaches.

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