Virtually teaching ethics: experiencing the discrepancy between abstract ethical stands and actual behaviour

Catrina Denvir, Sylvie Delacroix

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


The CAVE experience is an immersive virtual reality (IVR) environment employing high-resolution, 3D video and audio technology. Using the CAVE, researchers at University College London designed an IVR scenario intended to echo the logical structure of a traditional ‘trolley scenario’ problem, and deployed this activity within an undergraduate Law and Ethics Course. In this chapter we explore how the use of virtual reality can offer students an unparalleled opportunity to reflect on the dissonance between the behaviour they adopt when faced with an ethical dilemma, and the theoretical stance they propose during class discussion. We explore how this personalisation gives rise to sustained student engagement borne out of a desire to understand the discrepancy between principle and practice. Our chapter considers the potential of IVR technology when teaching ethics to future and current professionals. We conclude by considering how such technology can offer more dynamic opportunities for student reflection and how IVR might be sensibly integrated into a broader legal ethics curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModernising Legal Education
EditorsCatrina Denvir
Place of PublicationCambridge UK
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781108663311
ISBN (Print)9781108475754
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Legal education
  • virtual reality
  • pedagogy
  • experiential learning
  • law

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