The Learning Contracts To Promote Learners Autonomy 2023 - educationtopstories

The Learning Contracts To Promote Learners Autonomy 2023

Learning Contracts


Learning Contracts To Promote Learners’ Autonomy

The study described in this article was founded on the idea that a learning contract (LC) would enable students to express their learning goals in a methodical and precise manner, therefore enabling the instructor to modify training to suit their requirements. Another presumption that supported the adoption of contracts was that adults are extremely self-directing when they learn something organically (Knowles et al., 1998).

The specific course covered in this article was held on a military installation, and the students were enrolled as a member of a military unit that was about to deploy to a Spanish-speaking nation and had a certain amount of time to become acquainted with the local language and culture.

The teacher had no prior knowledge of the pupils’ language skills or familiarity with the nation’s customs and culture. There were no pre-existing curricula or syllabi for the course.

Contracts encourage a certain level of freedom and self-direction, the instructor’s students learned during their exploration. To make the students and the instructor equal partners, the contracts also called for little to no teacher engagement. Learning Contracts

Learning Contracts
Learning Contracts

Literature Review

Meaningful information was gleaned through a survey of the literature on the application of learning contracts in various educational contexts, particularly in the study of second and foreign languages .

A written agreement made with the learner about what and how that learning would be monitored was highlighted by Normah and Masdinah (2012) as substantial evidence in support of the adoption of LC as a strategy for fostering autonomy in language learning .

It is extremely desirable to encourage student autonomy in the learning process, particularly when the students are adults who are aware of the content that has to be covered, as was the situation in this research. It was vital to balance the requirements and expectations of the students engaged in this process because they already had a purpose and learning objectives. Learning Contracts

The information required for balancing the expectations of the students and the requirements of the organisations was supplied by Knowles et al. in 1998. Learning contracts, according to the authors, “provide a means for negotiating reconciliation between the learner’s needs and interests and their external needs and expectations.

Sidhu et al. (2011) noted a number of advantages of adopting LC. According to their claim, “Through learning agreements, learners not only experience increased levels of autonomy, empowerment, and control, but also personal growth and increased self-esteem, especially when they have succeeded in the learning process” . Learning Contracts

The review of the literature found evidence of the use of LC in other contexts of L2 acquisition, such as with ESL learners (Sidhu, Kaur, and Fook, 2011; Ismail and Yusof, 2012), with rural learners with low English proficiency (Juin, 2016), and with undergraduate (Frank and Scharf, 2013) and graduate students (Lemieux, 2001). Lemieux (2001) used LC as a tool for empowerment and accountability, while Sidhu et al. (2011) concentrated on utilising LC to foster learner autonomy. Learning Contracts

In regards to the alleged drawbacks, Sidhu, Kaur, and Fook (2011) made the following argument:




Because many students simply do not know what they do not know, some students may have issues with their advisors, some students and staff members may object to this new method of assessment, the entire process is frequently time-consuming, and if students choose their own assessment, the academic standards may decline, learners are not always in the best position to judge what they need to learn. Learning Contracts

According to the results of this study, the perceived disadvantages mentioned above may be avoided if the educator is aware of them and handles them effectively and promptly. Let’s examine each of them separately.

Through the use of coaching-style inquiries, instructors may help learners who are unaware of their requirements to explore them. A new professor might assume the reins as the course’s facilitator when students have issues with their advisers because these issues may damage both the LC and the whole course.

If staff members object to the use of LC, the teacher might analyse why this is the case, offer illustrations of how to use LC effectively, and do a literature study. My experience suggests that employing LC might take a lot of time, but it could be better to devote time to the LC process at the start of a course to gauge the needs of the students. Learning Contracts

The creation of exams and quizzes does not need to include the learner at all, even if it is assumed that academic standards might decline if students create their own assessments.
The usage of LC in a number of other contexts was also clarified by a survey of the literature.

LC have been used to guide clinical education for respiratory care students (Rye, K. J.-B., 2008), in an Italian university setting (Fedeli, M., Giampaolo, and Coryell, J. E., 2013), in an RN-to-BSN leadership course (Waddell, D. L., and Stephens, 2000), and to support student success in online doctoral programmes (Shaw, M., Blyler, D., Bradley. Learning Contracts

Learning Contracts
Learning Contracts

A research that looked at learning contract templates produced a number of interesting results. Rogne (2012) from the University of Missouri-St. Louis advises students to list three objectives, a strategy for achieving each goal, and a mechanism to gauge their own progress towards meeting these goals. Learning Contracts

Rogne (2012) adds the following requirements at the bottom of the contract to ensure student involvement and ongoing participation in the process: “The student will participate in an online or face-to-face discussion 2-3 times during the internship and complete a final 3-page paper summarising and evaluating their internship experience in terms of the sociological learning goals established in this contract. Learning Contracts

The University of Waterloo suggests a sample that includes the learning objectives, resources strategies, and target date of completion in an article titled “Self-Directed Learning: Learning Contracts (n.d.),” noting that “It is important to document expectations related to policies, including late submissions and requests for extensions (Sample Learning Contract section, para. 8).”


The University of Waterloo also stresses the significance of an evidence section that explains how the student will know they are learning, as well as the need for faculty feedback and some kind of evaluation to prove that the process is taking place. Learning Contracts

Adapted Learning Contract

This article’s author modified the learning contract from Knowles et al. (1998). For the purpose of aiding the pupils’ comprehension, the adaptation included a cover page that broke down each component of the contract. The contract was a 5-column table that the students filled up with their personal information. Learning Contracts

The following areas were the contract’s primary focus:

  1. To know what they desired or needed to be able to do with the language by the conclusion of the course, learners should set learning objectives.
  2. Where am I at this moment? a section where the student can assess their learning requirements in relation to the earlier objectives.
  3. aims of education. To aid in the choice of appropriate learning materials, tactics, and assessments, each of the learning goals identified in step 1 is converted into a learning objective.
  4. The student and the teacher meet and discuss the learning materials and tactics they will employ to meet the learning objectives.
  5. What can the teacher do to help me learn more effectively? In this case, the instructor is viewed as a resource.



On the first day, the students were given their learning contracts, went through the specifics with one another, and then filled them out. The teacher made a point of stressing that students would construct the class using the contract, that the focus was on what they wanted or needed to learn, and how that concentration would turn them into independent learners in charge of the course material. Learning Contracts

After completing the contract, the students had a diagnostic test to gauge their reading and listening comprehension skills and an oral exam to gauge their speaking ability. All students showed elementary competency with the target language up to an ILR level 1, according to the findings, which were discussed individually with the students and in class. Learning Contracts

As a consequence of these findings, the instructor and all of the students agreed that the first week of instruction should be devoted to covering the language’s fundamentals, including phonology, the alphabet, and numerals.

According to the contract, the instructor was required to develop a syllabus with a scope and sequence for four weeks of teaching as well as acceptable material. Learning Contracts

The contracts identified 2 primary educational objectives. The pupils have to pick up knowledge of:

  • casual interactions with citizens to build a good rapport
  • To teach particular military abilities to their military counterparts in the target language nation, one must understand operational vocabulary.
  • Using the free website creation tool Weebly, the instructor built a website based on the defined learning objectives.

    Learning Contracts
    Learning Contracts

com to assist the pupils in acquiring sociolinguistic proficiency so they may converse politely with the general public. Using the website as a learning management system (LMS), books, films, songs with lyrics, vocabulary lists with common idioms, and comprehension exercises were compiled and arranged. Students had access to the material from anywhere, and it was synchronised with the course syllabus. Learning Contracts

The teacher used a dual strategy to reinforce the requirement for students to acquire the operational language. They devised a course to teach formal imperative verbs after first identifying the operational language the students needed to generate in the target language. The operational language themes were shared among the students since they would be sent out to teach. Learning Contracts

With the aid of the teacher, who had a collection of Spanish operational language resources at the language centre, they conducted research on materials like handbooks. Some crucial portions of the English-language handbooks that the students translated into Spanish. With the teacher’s instruction, this exercise was completed as a flipped classroom activity to determine which elements were crucial for translation. After using a web-based translation, the kids checked the correctness with their peers and the teacher. Learning Contracts

The instructor created an expedited lesson on formal imperative verbs that encompassed the final two weeks of the semester in order to teach the necessary grammatical structures.

The students took turns taking part in role-plays and situations that allowed them to practise providing instructions and directions while utilising acceptable vocabulary and paragraph-level grammatical structures. The students audio recorded these exercises so they could listen to them later while out in the field.

The contracts made the process of teaching and preparing easier. During the first few days of the course, the instructor was able to create the curriculum; after that, she could concentrate on facilitating the classroom. Every day, the kids came prepared to class after completing the flipped homework assignments, which included learning Spanish operational vocabulary. The learning contract procedure was then successfully carried out for further courses. Learning Contracts


Learning contracts could be helpful in promoting a curriculum that is more adaptable and fluid. To customise the instruction to the students’ needs and problems, teachers or teaching teams might develop their own contracts based on their requirements, the length of the course, and the learning objectives of the students. Learning Contracts

The contracts could be helpful in sessions for academic counselling. Traditionally, instructors give advice to students during counselling sessions; however, if they employ a contract, both parties actively participate in creating the course and negotiating teaching. Due to their active engagement in its production, the students would also be more effectively held accountable for adhering to the counselling advice.

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