The last part of this module focusses on some of the assessable documentation that may be required as part of your professional placement. While institutions do not have a universal model for learning on placement and adopt different formats, most academic courses require a learning agreement right at the beginning. The purpose of the agreement is to account for student learning goals, academic requirements and agency contexts. It is therefore a type of contract between you and your host agency. The Learning Agreement is then built upon in more detail through additional documentation in your Learning Plan.
Activity 1.3.1 – Preparing the Learning Agreement
In terms of what to include in a Learning Agreement, initial goals can be identified by you and through your studies. However, completing your Learning Agreement will require consultation with your agency supervisor. During this consultation, your agency supervisor may also suggest additional goals. The learning agreement should also reflect content that is aligned with your stage of study. For example, the first placement Learning Agreement is more developmental in nature with clear directive tasks. The final placement Learning Agreement can be more complex and allow some autonomy in terms of outcomes and process.
It is also important to realise that there is no single correct answer in a Learning Agreement and no two Learning Agreements will be the same.
Learning Agreements are always specific to the learning needs of an individual student and their agency’s context. Think carefully and strategically about what you would like to include in your Learning Agreement. Work through the following activity (consisting of three questions) to help you prepare for your Learning Agreement meeting:
A sample learning agreement template is provided under Appendix A.
Activity 1.3.2 Developing your Learning Plan
Your second task is your Learning Plan. This is where you start adding details to what you agreed to with your supervisor and aligning it with the attributes that you require as a practitioner. For Human Services study, these attributes are identified by the accrediting body The Australian Community Workers Association. The Learning Plan brings together the attributes and links them to specific tasks and activities. As with the Learning Agreement, there are no right or wrong answers. It is however important for you to identify what you will ‘actually do’ while on your placement in consultation with your supervisor. These tasks and activities will then be the basis for your supervision sessions and enable you to receive feedback. Some examples to help you get started are below but add to these in consultation with your supervisor in the first few days of your placement.
A sample learning plan template is provided under Appendix A.
Due dates for submitting the Learning Agreement and Learning Plan are noted on your Course Study Desk.