Teaching Development Grants
Completed TDG Projects

IT in the Curriculum & e-Learning

Adding Realism to Legal Education at the University of Hong Kong: A Pilot Run of a Simulation e-Learning Platform and Standardized Clients in Professional Legal Education


The Department of Professional Legal Education of HKU piloted a project in the spring semester of 2012-13 with an aim to adding realism to the legal education in Hong Kong. The project consists of two initiatives which are ground-breaking, and in this sense innovative, in Hong Kong and in Asia. The first one involves an open source virtual learning environment known as SimPLE which stands for Simulated Professional Learning Environment for transactional learning in law. Transactional learning, in this context, refers to active learning by doing legal transactions. The other is known as the Standardized Clients (SCs) who are people lay to the law discipline but are trained to present standardized scenarios to students and then comment on and assess students’ communicative competence. SimPLE transactions were designed and put in use and the first group of local SCs was trained to assess students in action. Students’ evaluation shows that in general they welcome the new initiatives but they would be more in favour of a higher level of resemblance to reality in their learning experience, whether or not technology is being employed.

Principal Investigator

Mr. W.S. Chow, Department of Professional Legal Education, Faculty of LawContact

Project level

Programme-level project

Project Completion

September 2013


  • The HKU SimPLE site: (currently under redevelopment for the extended TDG project)
  • 4 SimPLE transactions (on archive SimPLE site; available on request to the PI)
  • SC exercise and assessment materials Download
  • Conference / Seminar presentations
    • Adding Realism to Professional Legal Education in Hong Kong – SimPLE and Standardized Clients: A Status Report, presented at the 4th International Conference on Legal Education in Asia (HKU, February 23, 2013)
    • Vocational Legal Education in Asia – Innovation, Interaction and Information Technology" (with Michael Ng), presented at the CALI Conference for Law School Computing 2013 (Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, USA, June 14, 2013)
    • CETL seminar on October 9, 2013 Download
  • Book chapters
    • The First Standardized Clients in Asia – University of Hong Kong’s Experience (with Michael Ng), in Karen Barton and Fiona Westwood (eds), The Calling of Law, (Farnham, Ashgate, expected 2013)
    • Adding Realism to Professional Legal Education at the University of Hong Kong, in Caroline Streven (ed), Simulation and the Learning of the Law, (Farnham, Ashgate, expected 2013)