EduDretTIC2012: Paul Anthony Maharg: Assessing legal professionalism in simulations: The case of SIMPLE

Keynote speech Paul Anthony Maharg, Law professor at Northumbria Law School.

Assessing legal professionalism in simulations: The case of SIMPLE
Paul Anthony Maharg, Law professor at Northumbria Law School

In a course for professionals, a collection of outcomes must be reached. To measure how much the outcomes have been reached, both positive and negative indicators have been designed for performance assessment. Thus, not only professionalism but also unprofessional behaviour is also measured.

The SIMPLE platform is specially designed for professional learning:

  • Personalized learning in a professional environment.
  • Collaborative learning.
  • Use of simulation spaces.
  • Use of rich media.
  • Authenticity.

The whole system is based on transactions — transactional learning — where the students have an active learning by performing authentic transactions. The platform is used at three levels: as a workspace, as a learning space and as an assessment space.

Teaching with the SIMPLE platform, based on simulations, is very feasible, and the impact is big while the cost is relative low. Provided there is experience enough to write the simulations — which there usually is — the cost is reduced, as producing learning materials is usually more expensive than designing simulations and putting them into practice.

A next step could be the “appification” of the course, just like BarMax did with the US Bar exam.

The combination of simulations with other advancements of education like PLEs, aggregation of content (learning as aggregation). Think of aggregation as the social media of our student’s nested lives, a genealogy of knowledge, an ethical practice community.

Lee Shulman’s signature pedagogies:

  • Surface structure: observable, behavioural structures.
  • Tacit structure: values and dispositions that the behaviour implicitly models.
  • Deep structure: underlying intentions, rationale or theory that the behaviour models.
  • Shadow structure: The absent pedagogy that is, or is only weakly, engaged.


Ismael Peña-López: has assessment been done through e-Portfolios? Maharg: no, but this is definitely the way to go. Moodle+Mahara could be an option in the nearest future, but definitely an e-Portfolio would help in straightening the bounds between students and firms.

More information


3rd Conference on Law Education and Information and Communication Technologies (2012)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2012) “EduDretTIC2012: Paul Anthony Maharg: Assessing legal professionalism in simulations: The case of SIMPLE” In ICTlogy, #105, June 2012. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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