The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute
In the past few decades, legal academics have spawned writings about changing law school teaching methods from the traditional Socratic and case method to alternative approaches. Some of these authors encourage law professors to be aware of individual differences among students. Yet there has been little empirical research conducted in law schools concerning the effectiveness of teaching students according to their individual learning styles. "Learning styles" refers to the ways in which individuals "begin [ ] to concentrate on, process, [internalize,] and [remember] new and difficult [academic] information" or skills. The absence of learning-styles research in law schools spurred us to conduct an empirical study to determine whether the application of learning-styles theory actually improved student learning. As a legal writing professor and a doctoral student in education, we collaborated on an empirical study that assessed the learning-styles preferences of a first-year law student population and measured the effectiveness of a particular type of instructional tool - the Programmed Learning Sequence (PLS). The details and the results of that study are the subject of this Article.