How is online learning changing the legal industry?

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The legal industry is notoriously slow when it comes to accepting educational change. Traditional ways of teaching and learning have been upheld by prestigious law schools for decades, without much in the way of obvious influence from the evolving technologies of modern time.

At least, that’s been the standard view in the past. Closer analysis reveals gradual movement in the right direction over recent years.

New students of law are receiving a more modern education with a greater emphasis on online learning. The result is a legal industry that’s becoming increasingly accessible.

Embracing e-learning

It’s taken a lot of motivation from outside bodies, but law schools around the world are finally coming around to the idea of e-learning.

In 2013, the American Bar Association called for law schools to make better use of technology and improve online resources. Many are now beginning to use a blend of face-to-face and online tuition to deliver their degree programmes to students.

Progress has been slow, but it’s set to speed up as the general attitude of the education industry towards the merits of e-learning continues to evolve. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online modules on a variety of topics that have gained more and more interest over recent years. In a popular move, some British universities are now accrediting them.

It’s a clear sign that the demand for online access to education isn’t going anywhere, and that law schools will have to keep up with the times in order to attract new talent.

The rise of distance learning

For school leavers interested in becoming a lawyer, a huge amount of pressure is placed on getting into the right university to receive a proper education. Traditionally that’s always meant going to a prestigious bricks-and-mortar institution.

But with the growing influence of quality online providers of education, distance learningis increasingly viable for students. Through Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), distance learning participants use a centralised hub to submit coursework and receive feedback, and access online discussion forums.

Studying from home is no longer a second-rate option for any course. The distance learning community for the legal industry is thriving, with prestigious law schools now offering Masters completely online.

A more accessible industry

So what’s the impact of increasing integration and acceptance of modern ways of learning?

The legal industry is now much more accessible, with students from all backgrounds finding it cheaper and easier to gain a qualification. Studying via distance learning cansave students about £10,000 in tuition fees.

Add in reduced travelling and living costs by studying from home, and becoming a lawyeris far more affordable than it ever was before. Students can now earn the necessary qualifications without accumulating an insurmountable amount of debt.

It may have taken the legal industry much longer than others to accept modern ways of learning, but with ever increasing technological advancements of online and distance learning, the future is looking positive.