Westminster law school follows Pokémon Go trend and launches virtual reality game

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By Stuart Wells on

Criminal law-themed “immersive learning experience” coming to lecture theatres soon

University of Westminster
University of Westminster

The University of Westminster will be rolling out an award-winning game to its criminal law students in an attempt to solidify their subject knowledge.

Now that gaming seems to be entering every part of modern life — from employers using video games to boost staff productivity through to early reports that Pokémon Go is leading to a fitness revolution  — law schools may be following suit.

The game, REal and Virtual Reality Law (REVRLaw), is the murder problem question of the future. Launching in November, students on both the LLB course and the integrated masters in law will be immersed in a murder case and have to find evidence before they apply what they know and decide if the offence has taken place.

Westminster’s computer science and law schools came together to create REVRLaw with senior lecturers Markos Mentzelopoulos and Dr Daphne Economou — as well as games development student James Parrish — working with senior lecturer and criminal law module leader Dr Paresh Kathrani.

University of Westminster
University of Westminster

Currently in its testing stage, the game has already caught the attention of the immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN), with the research paper behind the game winning the best paper award at their 2016 conference.

Though he says he doesn’t see it as replacing the more traditional curriculum, one of the games developers, Mentzelopoulos, who also sits on the Serious Games @ Westminster research cluster, hopes:

[T]his new proposed platform will bring a new immersive learning experience to the law students.

Speaking to Legal Cheek, a law student studying at the Westminster campus told us that, while she hasn’t yet got her hands on REVRLaw, she thinks the game:

[W]ill help the teaching because students will receive a ‘real life’ view of what will be required of them as a criminal lawyer.

She hopes the game “will aid their memory in the principles of criminal law”– so hopefully addressing the age-old challenge, the law student’s memory game.

Could this be a step away from backbreaking textbooks towards lecture theatres filled with students wearing headsets or will this be a one-off virtual wonder?