Here at The University of Law, we strive to make our courses manageable while still getting you through your studies as quickly as possible, so you can get on with your career and reach your ambitions.
Some of our courses, like the GDL – our conversion course – do this with a modular approach to your learning. But what is modular learning, and how can it help you achieve better?
We asked Katie Brookes, Programme and Student Lead for the GDL, to give us the lowdown on what benefits she’s seen since changing the GDL to a modular course structure.
A better study balance
Modular learning means that we can split your year into terms. So for the full-time GDL we’ve split the year into two terms. You study four modules in your first term (September to December) and five modules in your second term (January to May), one of which is your elective. The part-time GDL runs over two years rather than one, but the course has the same term splits – two terms per year – so each term focuses on two modules each. You also get the summer between Year 1 and Year 2 to complete your elective module, which is great if you choose to do a research project. All of the benefits that we see for modular learning seem to go across both full-time and part-time courses.
More time to reflect
Studying law, especially sitting law exams, can be a little different from other subjects. We find that students doing their GDL after a non-law undergraduate degree may take some time to adjust to the particular styles of legal research and essay writing. By having only four modules to start with you get to ease into it, allowing a gentler learning curve and plenty of time to reassess your performance from one set of modules to the next.
Using the two term modular approach, we’ve noticed a phenomenon in our students which we like to call “exit velocity”. This is where students have just finished their first term exams and get to step back and breathe for a moment. Then they come back to start Term 2 with the techniques, skills and understanding they gained from Term 1, which means they get a head start into their remaining subjects. Make no mistake; the law is a tough subject that demands a lot of energy, but getting that short break between terms seems to make all the difference.
Since switching to a two term structure for the GDL we’re seeing some of the best results we’ve ever had.
If you take all your exams right at the end of the year, you’re putting all your eggs in one basket. You’re going to have to remember everything you’ve learned over the past nine months all at once. One attempt at it all. It’s a lot of pressure.
By splitting your exams you can use the first set to your benefit. Having a first batch of exams early in the year means you can get feedback and pointers from your tutors. So when it comes time for your second set of exams in the summer you will have refined your technique and can go into them with greater confidence, feeling (a little) less pressure. And you also get two sets of mock exams, so there are actually three chances to further develop your skills before your final summer exams.
To find out more about our modular GDL, visit our website.