student profile: Mr John Vulic


Thesis work

Thesis title: Designing hypermedia technology learning environments for students to 'think like lawyers'.

Supervisors: Michael J JACOBSON

Thesis abstract:

This study aims to advance our understanding of how innovative learning approaches and advanced technology systems can enhance professional tertiary education in law - where students commence a challenging and frequently quoted transition from novices to early career professionals that ‘think like lawyers’. In this elusive process legal educators need to consider how pedagogy can best be applied to their craft to avoid the risk of teaching students to ‘think like law professors’. The first phase of this study aims to gain insight into potential differences in how legal novices and experts think about centrally important legal concepts. This will inform the second phase, which aims to explore recent pedagogical theory, the affordances of expert scaffolds, and the application of these within a hypermedia technology learning environment. The study is a replication and extension of earlier work by Gentner (2003) on the pedagogical design technique of analogical encoding. This technique involves learners being asked to actively compare cases to reveal common structures, regardless of the content of the domains being compared. This study aims to extend the research into analogical encoding to a new context, and introduce the earlier hypermedia work of Jacobson (2008) to examine the efficacy of providing export-like scaffolding support to participants within hypermedia technology learning environments. It is anticipated that the design of expert scaffolds may positively benefit student learning through analogical encoding and their performance in subsequent transfer activities. This research not only has important practical implications for legal education, but the theoretical framing of this research promises to contribute to theoretical advancement in the learning sciences.

Note: This profile is for a student at the University of Sydney. Views presented here are not necessarily those of the University.