A Pedagogical Model of Distance Training for the Continuous Training of Magistrates

A Pedagogical Model of Distance Training for the Continuous Training of Magistrates

Joana Caldeira, Neuza Pedro
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6261-0.ch009
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Being aware of the importance of e-learning within existing training structures and in different professional contexts, this chapter aims to contribute to the modernization of the training practices implemented in the continuous training of magistrates, through the design of a pedagogical model of distance training, using a hybrid regime, to be implemented in the continuous training of magistrates. The implementation of a model of this nature is of great value for the training carried out by the Centre for Judicial Studies (CEJ), an entity responsible for the initial and continuous training of Portuguese magistrates, as it can constitute a pedagogical innovation of the training practices. The pedagogical model of distance learning that has been developed for the ongoing training of Portuguese magistrates is described and understood as a set of pedagogical assumptions and guidelines for planning, designing, and evaluating the distance training action.
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It has become a commonplace to say that human resources are the main asset of organizations (Greenhaus, Callanan & Godshalh, 2000). All the institutions need highly performing individuals with access to well-done training and on-demand support, not only to achieve their professional goals but also to assure a competitive advantage of the institution in todays’ financial markets (Adkins, 2006). On the other hand, the conception of ‘career’ has surpassed the mere meaning of a sequence of steps in a profession or organization to acquire a broader meaning. The notion that one moves on from school to an organization and from there to retirement has lost its meaning (London & Smither, 1999), making lifelong learning an essential part of life, in order to acquire, update and strengthen new knowledge and information.

In this perspective, e-learning emerges today as a manifestly recognized mean of diffusion of education and training and a form of structuring training that meant to respond to the great challenges of teaching and learning in the 21st century (Bonk, 2016). Distance learning appears as a mechanism that allows individuals to have access to a lifelong education, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by todays’ Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), progressively gaining ground as a complement to the traditional systems of education and training, from the logistic point of view and from the quality of the education provided. In this field, education has gained a privileged position with regard to the personal and professional development of citizens and the promotion of new skills, prevailing an increasing demand for new approaches to promote lifelong learning, with ICT being an essential resource at this level (Pestek, Kacapor & Ritan, 2009).

The increasing globalization and technological innovation that have taken place in recent years have fostered the emergence of new scientific, economic, social and professional requirements which have made a difference to the professional groups and institutions, and the professional group of magistrates is not an exception.

The continuous scientific and technological developments that have been brought to light, require a permanent effort of magistrates to gain, train and develop new knowledge and skills in order to be able to fully fulfill their functions and to be adapted to the changes that have presently emerged (Pestek, Kacapor & Ritan, 2009).

These profound social, educational and technological changes are also influencing the area of law and the judiciary in particular, and there is a need to keep up with those that are considered the best pedagogical practices and the technological advances that occur, mainly through the implementation of distance training schemes, with the creation of more appealing and interactive digital resources and the use of technological tools and online learning resources that promote communication and interaction between trainees and the teachers. Online learning environments and digital tools make it possible, among other things, to support the better management of all the training processes (registration, attendance, access, evaluation), as well as to provide access to learning resources of different natures (e.g. texts, videos, films, internet pages, podcasts, etc.), therefore allowing an unlimited dissemination of information to a vast number of magistrates. In this way, the importance of digital technologies is recognized by the different stakeholders involved in this process, and it is necessary to assume them as a complement to the training activities already used by the magistrates.

In this context, the present work is focused on presenting a pedagogical model of distance learning for the continuous training ativities developed by the Centre for Judicial Studies (CEJ) for a very specific professional group: the Portuguese magistrates. This involved a project that was implemented in the period from 2014 to 2017.

The main mission of the CEJ is to train judges and public prosecutors. The CEJ is responsible for the initial and ongoing training of judges and public prosecutors for courts of law and for administrative and tax courts.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Blended Learning (B-Learning): It is a training format that integrates face-to-face learning with online learning, through the integration of different interaction spaces (training room context and virtual learning environment), the combination of different approaches and pedagogical strategies and the diversification of resources and technological and pedagogical tools in order to promote the learning of trainees.

Training Cycle: Series of sequential and interdependent phases whose steps are decisive to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the training process itself.

Jurisdiction: It comprehends the different areas of law (family and children's law, civil law, criminal law, labor law, administrative and fiscal law).

Electronic Learning (E-learning): It is a training format that occurs entirely online, through a virtual learning space and that uses the web as a support the learning process. It involes a diversity of resources as well as pedagogical and technological tools to promote communication between the teacher and the trainees as well as among trainees.

Continuous Training: It aims the acquisition of knowledge and skills throughout the active lifetime of an individual for keep performing of one or more professional activities or functions.

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