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Malaysian Journal of Learning and Instruction (MJLI) Vol. 16, No.2 Dec. 2019

These articles have been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication in MJLI, but are pending final changes, are not yet published and may not appear here in their final order of publication until they are assigned to issues. Additionally, titles, authors, abstracts and keywords may change before publication.

An Analysis of University Legal Learning Spaces Effectiveness in Developing the Employability Skills of Future Law Graduates

Jason James Turner, Puteri Sofia Amirnuddin & Harmahinder Singh Iqbal Singh


Purpose -  The objectives of this research are to examine the role of legal learning spaces in a Malaysian university and how these spaces impact on law student’s preparation for the employment market. This research comes as a response to the identified inexperience of graduates, lacking the appropriate employability skills for the world of work, commonly referred to as the ‘graduate skills gap’.

Methodology -  This research used an online survey, accessed via a QR code, with 256 law students at a university in Malaysia. The sample size comprised 213 currently enrolled students and 43 alumni, with the former cohort representing 95% of the total available law student population at the university and the latter representing 17% of the total alumni population.

Findings - The research found that students, regardless of their year of study, did not feel legal learning spaces at the university replicated legal practice but thought the spaces prepared them for employment. Students felt that some legal learning spaces were better than others at developing their employability skills but enjoyed interacting with the spaces collectively and felt that they improved their team-working and communication skills as well as their softer employability skills. The research also revealed that the perceptions of legal learning spaces could be improved with better management of staff and student expectations.

Significance - This research is one of only a few studies, which investigate the role of the learning space in developing a student’s employability skills set. The findings consolidate existing research in the area of the graduate skills gap and the development of graduate employability skills, and take research forward in terms of identifying student perceptions of the learning spaces and the specific skills they felt they developed while engaging with these spaces. The research will be of particular interest to both employers and universities as they seek to manage each other’s expectations and pursue a more practice based learning curriculum.

Keywords: Legal learning spaces; Law students; Graduate skills gap; Employability skills.