Self-Directed Learning Program
The Learning Contract
Select a topic of interest. What specifically do you want to learn? Be as detailed as possible. For example, saying "The Internet" is not quite enough. Do you want to know about connectivity, T1 and ISDN lines? Do you want to know the skills of navigating the Internet? Do you want to learn how to author a homepage for the Internet? Once you have your goals clearly in mind, proceed with the learning contract.
Formulate the educational objectives for the project. What are you going to learn? What will be the outcome of the educational experience? When completing the contract use objectives that begin with phrases such as:
Avoid phrases such as "to understand…" or "to know…" as they are vague and hard to measure.
Objectives should build on each other in reasonable steps so that accomplishment of your project is realistic and measurable at each step.
How are you going to learn it? List the sources you plan to use to find out about your topic. Sources may be, but are not limited to:
Estimate the amount of time you will spend on the learning experience. How many hours will it take to achieve each objective? Be realistic!
Estimate the date you plan to accomplish each objective. Use this as a guideline for when you should meet with your mentor (see "Dates of contact with mentor").
How are you going to demonstrate that you have accomplished each objective? Is there some written document? Some performance criteria? Some final product that will emerge from the educational process? Examples of evidence of accomplishment may be, but are not limited to:
What are the criteria on which you will judge that your learning efforts have been successful? Both you and your mentor should evaluate the learning for completion and thoroughness. Make sure your evaluative measures match the objectives stated. When evaluating, consider for example:
List target dates for meeting with, calling, e-mailing, etc. your mentor. These should follow closely with the "Target date(s) of completion for modules and project." You should plan extra time for the first meeting and the last meeting. The first meeting should be to review objectives and make sure your learning contract is realistic. The last meeting should include time to review your project portfolio and completed contract. After this meeting, send the contract along with the mentor's letter of evaluative comments to MLA.
Download a copy of the contract to begin the process today.
Medical Library Association
Last Updated: 2007 July 05