Ismail, N., and Yusof, M.A.M. 2012. “Driving the Proverbial Thirsty Horse into the Water: EsL Learners Experiences with Language Learning Contracts.” Studies in self-access Learning Journal 3, n° 4. 452-464. sisaljournal.org/archives/dec12/ismail_yusof/. A literature search on the use of learning contracts in different teaching sets, in particular for foreign and second language (L2) learning, provided significant insights. Normah and Masdinah (2012) provided significant evidence of the use of LC as an option to promote autonomy in language learning and described it as a formal agreement negotiated with the learner on what is measured and how that learning is measured (p. 473). The promotion of autonomy in the learning process is highly desirable, especially when students are adults who know what they need to learn, which was the case in this study.
Since the students involved in this process already had a mission and learning objectives, it was necessary to reconcile their expectations and needs. Knowles et al. (1998) provided the necessary information on managing student expectations and the needs of organizations. The authors noted that “learning contracts offer a means of negotiating reconciliation between the learner`s external needs and expectations and his or her needs and interests (p. 211).” Sidhu et al. (2011) identified several benefits of using LC. They stated that “learners not only have an increased degree of autonomy, empowerment and control through learning agreements, but also personal growth and greater self-esteem, especially when they succeed in the learning process” (p. 219). Learners received and discussed the details of their apprenticeship contracts on the first day and completed them after an open discussion. The teacher stressed that they would use the contract to design the class, that the focus was on what they wanted or needed to learn, and how this focus would turn them into autonomous learners who control the course content.
A study that examined apprenticeship contract models yielded several remarkable results. Rogne (2012) from the University of Missouri-St. Louis proposes to the student state 3 objectives, a method to achieve each of them and a way to evaluate themselves the achievement of these objectives. In this process, the learner must explain their learning intentions and set (and agree) achievable goals. And to be able to justify one`s own plans in relation to “x” [where x is the agreed program or achievements]. In an article entitled “Self-Directed Learning: Learning Contracts”, the University of Waterloo offers an example that contains learning objectives, resource strategies and the deadline for conclusion: “It is important to document expectations related to directives, including submission delays and renewal requests (e.g. section of the apprenticeship contract, paragraph 8). The University of Waterloo also mentions the importance of a section of evidence that indicates, as the student knows he or she is learning, to verify this process through some type of assessment and obtain feedback from the faculty (“Student Instructions” section, Table 2). The author of this article adapted Knowles et al. (1998) Apprenticeship Contract.
The adaptation had a cover with a breakdown of all parts of the contract to help students understand. The contract consisted of a table of 5 columns that the students filled in with their information. The premise of the study, shared in this article, was that a learning contract (LC) would allow students to share their learning objectives in a systematic and clearly defined way so that the teacher could reframe the teaching to their needs. . . .