ASSIGNMENT - how to Critically discuss and justify  "learning contracts" as a method of learning. Expected Content. 1.The work will include a personal learning agreement which will be structured...


- how to Critically discuss and justify  "learning contracts" as a method of learning.

Expected Content.

1.The work will include a personal learning agreement which will be structured around the task of completing a literature review in semester 2. This will be included in the appendices section.

 2. The essay component will be complied on the theme of personal learning contracts (learning agreements, learning action plans etc). Evidence will be shown to demonstrate understanding of this method of learning alongside critical engagement with the literature.


The work will be clearly structured, with a logical flow and a clear introduction and conclusion. Each section will relate to the question and engagement with the topic, understanding.

 Analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

Students are expected to offer critical comment. This will require demonstration of theoretical underpinnings, pulling together of the material and critical engagement.

 Use of source materials and referencing.

Students are expected to include relevant literature and contemporary journal articles to support their comments and critical engagement.

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your first step will need to be the literature review, since research on this topic is necessary for you to proceed, and it does not appear that you are expected to conduct your own study on learning contracts.  If you have chosen for yourself this topic as the topic for the paper, it would be a very good idea for you to first ascertain how much of a body of literature there is on learning contracts.  If the literature is scarce, you will have to go back to the drawing board for a new topic. 

Assuming there is a body of peer-reviewed literature out there, you will need to define the scope of your investigation.  Is this going to be research regarding K-12, or just secondary or college education, for example?  Will you confine yourself to American education or seek information internationally?  As you begin, your parameters should be fairly clear.

Through your review of the literature, you will be able to get some sense of the theoretical underpinnings of the use of the learning contract.  Are these premised upon a model of constructivism?  Is this a model borrowed from the business world, which uses employee input for to construct employee improvement action plans?  In order for you to critically evaluate the learning contract, you must understand the theoretical premises behind it. 

Your review of the literature should be as critical as the rest of your paper.  How large of a student population is being studied?  Is it a self-selected population?  How is success or failure being measured?  Are the studies qualitative or quantitative?  What are the limits of each?  Is there a control group?  These are some of the questions you must be asking as you review the articles you read. 

Do not organize your literature review around articles.  Organize it around ideas.  No literature review should be a series of paragraphs summarizing article by article, because a review is more than a summary of the literature.  It is a summary and a synthesis of the ideas contained within the literature.  And that synthesis is the jumping off point for your own essay section on learning contracts.

What is the main idea you wish for the reader to take away after reading your essay on learning contracts?  You are not likely to know what that idea is yet, but it will certainly come to you as you do your research. That is the idea you will support, through your critical analysis of the subject.  What are the pedagogical elements that suggest they are a good idea?  Are those sound? Are they a good idea all the time?  Are they a good idea under certain circumstances?  Are they only successful when they are created together by teacher and student? Do they have greater success than rubrics, which also clearly outline expectations?  Are they better in some content areas than others? Why? Do they have greater utility in differentiated learning for the gifted or disabled?  What are their best uses?  Can you offer examples of the kinds of learning contracts that would work?  What are their limits?  What are your own personal observations as you complete this assignment, subject yourself to a learning contract?

Critical analysis, whether in the literature review or in your own section, as you can see, consists largely of asking and answering questions. Have authors properly established the conclusions they have drawn? Does this work?  Why does it work?  How does it work?  What are the drawbacks?  What further research might be done?  All of these questions (and more) should be the basis of your exploration, analysis, synthesis, and original ideas.

rookie126 | Student

Could you also help me with some more articles or literature surrounding learning contracts please.


rookie126 | Student

Are you able to write a short type essay on Learning contracts so that I have a better idea rather than recommendations of what I have to do (which I have been informed of) my understanding is scares this is the reason I came in here for help.

Your assistance with this will be much appreciated.