Spanner Back Home

Full Paper

Back to List of papers

Revisiting Dimensions of Technology-Based Learning; A Template for Creating Virtual Environments for Exploring Multi-Levelled Problems in Law ñ Law Quest.

Jenny Winn

Teaching and Learning Support Service Department


Gordon Joughin

Law Faculty

Queensland University of Technology



At ASCILITE96 we addressed the dimensions involved in technology-based learning: discipline knowledge; teaching and learning knowledge; technology knowledge.

These dimensions were used to set up the teams involved in the Law/TALSS project to ensure that expertise covered all areas of the project.

This project involves developing an educational and technical template that allows lecturers to create their own computer-based applications for teaching and learning in law. The templateís conceptual framework could be applied to a range of disciplines.

The template and its use is guided in part by Laurillardís ëtemplate for learningí and encourages lecturers to develop applications that will be intellectually challenging, encourage appropriate approaches to learning, and provide guidance and feedback, as students address realistic and complex scenario-based problems.

Within the template there are three dimensions: information, problems and tools. These are translated in the project as: an office which contains problem scenarios presented using a variety of media; a library which includes texts, journal articles, audio and video resources, and links to external databases and the Internet; a set of standardised research tools; links to the studentís word processing program; hints; and feedback.

A lecturerís manual provides detailed advice on (i) integrating computer-based applications into the subject curriculum; (ii) planning applications; and (iii) creating the applications by using the template.

The presentation will incorporate examples of applications developed using the template and the template itself.


This paper revisits our paper for ASCILITE96 titled ëDimensions of Technology-Based Learningí. That paper drew attention to the need to integrate pedagogical and technical dimensions of learning into technology-based materials and the organisational structures and interactions required to achieve this. The paper also referred to a project being undertaken by the QUT Law Faculty and the former Computer Based Education Department which is now a core section within Teaching and Learning Support Services (TALSS). This project is now in the final stages of development and has created a lot of interest across QUT and other universities. The original title of the project was ëAn Environment for Exploring Multi-Levelled Problems in Lawí. This title still expresses the underlying nature of the project which has since been renamed ëLawQuestí.


The project to product a template for lecturers to generate multi-levelled problems in a discipline came as a result of several factors including:

This project has addressed each of these issues by:

During 1996 the project management team worked on the blueprint for the project including forming the various teams which were designed to take it through its development cycle from teaching teams, design teams to development teams. Each team was put together to include expertise of three kinds: discipline-specific (law); teaching and learning; and technical, in order to cover all the dimensions required for effective learning from technology-based materials.

Within the template itself there are three dimensions: information, problems and tools. These provide the basis for the template and the connections between them create the framework.

The Learning Context


Student task

Primary method


To become familiar with the key ideas and information in each area of law and know how these ideas and information are organised/structured.

Lectures, study guides, texts.


To accurately relate the language of law to its (underlying) meaning.

Discussions within lectures and tutorials: tested in the LawQuest ëpre-testí.


To act on simulated but realistic situations on the basis of what they have already learnt about the law through steps 1 and 2.

LawQuest applications.


To use feedback to modify their understanding and adjust their actions.

Partially within LawQuest applications through its ëcommentí and ëfeedbackí functions; follow-up seminars.


To reflect on actions and feedback in relation to the structured ideas and information developed in the previous steps

Follow-up seminars.

The educational framework for the project lies with two constructs - Laurillardís ëconversationalí framework for learning and ëstudent approaches to learningí. In Rethinking University Teaching, Laurillard has indicated the necessary steps required for learning to occur in any area of university learning (Laurillard 1993). These steps have been applied to the study of law in the Table 1 below and show where LawQuest fits in to give simulated realistic situations or ëmicroworldsí which students can act on and receive feedback from. It is important to note that the use of a template such as LawQuest can only be successful when all five steps of learning are addressed, though it is not necessary for all steps to be addressed within the computer-based materials.

In relation to student approaches to learning, Paul Ramsden has noted that approaches to learning have two components:

LawQuest, through its suggested process for constructing problems, invites lecturers to create tasks (1) that are meaningful and require understanding and (2) that demand thoughtful well-structured responses from students. This is achieved through effective integration of the three dimensions in the framework: information, problems and tools.

The Lecturer Interface

The templateís interface enables lecturers to input their content into the template so that the students view it through the student interface. The interface can be used in two ways - sequentially and independently. Sequentially allows lecturers to work through an application by inputting each step. Independently allows lecturers to go to any part of an application as required. Lecturers must create an overview, a problem set (with optional hints and feedback) and resources for the office. Optional components of the application are resources for the library, comments and the pre-test.

Applications can be created by direct input and importing files. Users of Windows and Powerpoint will find the template easy to use.

The Student Interface

The student navigates through a number of preliminary screens before reaching the main workspace. There is, amongst other things, a screen which provides details on how to use the package and an optional multiple choice pre-test so that students can quickly determine whether they know and understand legal principles to be applied in the main problem or whether they should first refresh themselves on the law from texts or other sources.

On completion of the pre-test, students may move on to the main section of the program:

Throughout the program students may access a number of different functions. Principal among these are:



1. Introduction

Part one: teaching and Learning law and the LawQuest system

2. The LawQuest template: foundations

3. The LawQuest template: from the studentís perspective

The LawQuest template: from the teacherís perspective

5. The LawQuest tools


Part two: Using LawQuest

6. Integrating computer-based applications into a unit

7. Planning a LawQuest application

8. Creating a LawQuest application

9. Managing the development process

Appendix: A framework for generating problems

Sample materials



Biggs, J.B. 1993, ëFrom theory to practiceí, Higher Education Research and Development, 12, 1.

Joughin, G. & Butler, D. 1997, ëLAWQUEST: Creating Adaptive Multimedia Environments in Lawí, Paper presented at Australasian Law Teachers Association Conference, Sydney, 1997.

Joughin, G. & Winn, J.J. 1996, ëDimensions of Learning, varieties of expertise and organisational structure in technology-based teaching and learning: a framework for integrationí, Paper presented at ALT-C Conference, Glasgow, 1996.

Laurillard, D. 1993, Rethinking University Teaching, London, Routledge.

Laurillard, D. 1996, ëHow should UK Higher Education make best use of New Technologyí, Keynote address ALT-C, Glasgow, 1996.

Ramsden, P. 1992, Learning to Teach in Higher Education, London, Routledge, 1992.

Winn, J.J. & Joughin, G 1996, ëDimensions of Technology-Based Learningí, Paper presented at ASCILITE96 Conference, Adelaide, 1996.




(c) Jenny Winn, Gordon Joughin


The author(s) assign to ASCILITE and educational and non-profit institutions a non-exclusive licence to use this document for personal use and in courses of instruction provided that the article is used in full and this copyright statement is reproduced. The author(s) also grant a non-exclusive licence to ASCILITE to publish this document in full on the World Wide Web and on CD-ROM and in printed form with the ASCILITE 97 conference papers, and for the documents to be published on mirrors on the World Wide Web. Any other usage is prohibited without the express permission of the authors.


Back to List of papers

This page maintained by Rod Kevill. (Last updated: Friday, 21 November 1997)
NOTE: The page was created by an automated process from the emailed paper and may vary slightly in formatting and layout from the author's original.