A Study on the Effectiveness of Problem-based Learning in Legal Education in India

Date01 January 2021
Published date01 January 2021
Subject MatterArticles
A Study on the Effectiveness of
Problem-based Learning in Legal
Education in India
S. Shalini1
Legal education in India aims at enabling learners to think critically and apply what they have learned.
Problem-based learning (PBL) can be used as an effective tool to achieve this objective. This study was
carried out to understand the effectiveness of this tool in legal education. A comparative analysis of the
traditional method with PBL has shown that the latter leads to benefits in the form of better retention
of knowledge and recall, improved problem-solving skill, better decision-making ability and development
of lifelong-learning ability. This article discusses the methodology adopted and the results generated
through application of the method in the taxation law course taught to undergraduate students of law.
Problem-based learning (PBL) is a method in which the learners work in a group and try to solve an
open-ended problem pertaining to a subject. Here, the learner is actively engaged in the process, and the
method is different from other methods of active learning, since other methods start with the instructor
giving inputs about the concepts rst, followed by the use of experiential exercises to enhance the
learning. PBL, on the other hand, starts with the learner understanding the problem and then searching
for knowledge that can be used to resolve the problem. A student is the active contributor in the learning
process, and he/she is responsible for his/her learning. Therefore, the learning approach is deep learning,
compared to surface learning.2 The use of this method is limited in institutions imparting legal education
in India either because of lack of awareness of the methodology or resistance in adopting a new method
owing to the challenges that it offers.
The scope of PBL goes beyond changing the method of classroom delivery. A career in the legal
field demands that a student or legal professional be a lifelong learner. This habit of lifelong learning
is inculcated through the practice of PBL. It can be used effectively with other methods to create
Asian Journal of Legal Education
8(1) 95–109, 2021
© 2021 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/2322005820984418
Corresponding author:
S. Shalini, Institute of Law, Nirma University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 382481, India.
E-mail: shalini.s@nirmauni.ac.in
1 Institute of Law, Nirma University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.
2 D.H. Dolmans, I.H. Wolfhagen & P. Ginns, Measuring Approaches to Learning in a Problem Based Learning Context, 1 Intl. J.
Med. educ. 55–59 (2010).

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