CREATING STUDENT LEARNING CONTRACTS FROM THE LEARNER-CENTERED APPROACH
American Public University (UNITED STATES)
While many have predicted and yearned from the days of Socratic teaching methodology to change, many educational institutions have sought after the attributes of changing from the teacher-centered to learner-centered approach. While many schools have announced the movement towards the use of this new approach, even though many have not fully implemented it into their curricula completely. In essence, the student is the centered of his or her learning and needs to take control of their learning, but does today’s adult learner want to take this type of control or leave it still in the hands of the instructor? The controversy behind such changes in the teaching pedagogy has created a divided among instructors, academic institutions, and learners. However, the key to the proper creating of a new learning environment and methodology can be link to the way it is communicated, demonstrated, and implemented in today’s classroom. In fact, one way to creatively engage and motivate adult learners towards this new teaching practice is the creating of employee learning contracts. Contrary to previously used learning contracts for teacher-student environments, under the teacher-centered approach, these newer contracts have several purposes. Notably, the use of employee learning contracts in application to project work or group work can have several benefits. The purpose of this paper is to highlight examples of previous student learning contracts, while comparing and contrasting their application into the realm of the learner-centered approach methodology. Consequently, the paper will focus on the development of this newer type of learner contract and illustrate and discuss how it can help engage and motivate adult learners to take more control of their work efforts, whether individually or in a group. In fact, the paper will overview how instructors today can help students to understand the importance of good communication, strategy making and development of projects, as well as how to evaluate effectiveness of such projects to help validate or find areas for improvement in these individual projects or group endeavors.