Using Learning Agreements in a Competency-based Training Programme: Introduction and Evaluation by Preregistration Pharmacists

Authors

  • A Ward Pharmacy Department, Teaching Unit, Guys and St Thomas Hospital Trust, Guys Hospital, St. Thomas Street, London SE1 9RT, UK.
  • R O'Neill Centre for Practice and Policy, School of Pharmacy, University of London, 29/39 Brunswick Square, London WCIN 1AX, UK.
  • A Kostrzewski Pharmacy Department, Teaching Unit, Guys and St Thomas Hospital Trust, Guys Hospital, St. Thomas Street, London SE1 9RT, UK.
  • S Dhillon Centre for Practice and Policy, School of Pharmacy, University of London, 29/39 Brunswick Square, London WCIN 1AX, UK.

Keywords:

competency, training programme

Abstract

This research sought to investigate the use of learning agreements between students and course organisers of a series of South Thames Hospital Pharmacist Preregistration study days. Learning agreements were negotiated at the start of the course and their perceived value assessed three months after the course by questionnaire. The introduction of the agreement was met enthusiastically by the students. As the year progressed the students became more focussed on the needs of passing the registration exam rather than reviewing their progress against agreed targets. It was felt that learning agreements would only work effectively if they were a more integrated part of the study days throughout the course. The full benefits of learning agreements as an ongoing performance management tool were generally not detected due to a lack of regular review and re-negotiation. Nevertheless, most students questioned were willing to enter into a learning agreement again.

References

Anderson, G. and Boud, D. (1996) “Introducing learning contracts: a flexible way to learn”, Innovations in education and training international 33(4), 221–227.

Anderson, G., Boud, D. and Sampson, J. (1994) “Expectations of quality in the use of learning contracts”, Capability Volume 1(1), 22–31.

Barlow, R.M. (1974) “An experiment with learning contracts”, Journal of Health Education 6, 441–449.

Beare, P. (1985) “The clinical contract—an approach to competency-based clinical learning and evaluation”, Journal of Nursing Education 24, 75–77.

Berger, B. and Felkey, B. (1987) “Use of contract grading in a required pharmacy communications course”, American Journal of Pharmacy Education 51, 121–126.

Brockett, P. and Hiemestra, R. (1991) “Self-direction in adult learning”, Perspectives on theory, research and practice (Routledge, London).

Cady, C. and Sata Yoshioka, R. (1991) “Using a learning contract to successfully discharge an infant on home total parenteral nutrition”, Paediatric Nursing 17(1), 67–74.

Cronbach, L.J., Glaser, G., Nada, H., et al. (1972) The dependability of behavioural measurements: theory of generalisability for scores and profiles (John Wiley, New York).

Dart, B. and Clarke, C. (1991) “Helping students become better learners: a case study in teacher education”, Higher Education 22, 317–335.

Fox, R.D. and West, R.F. (1983) “Developing student competence in lifelong learning: contract learning approach”, Medical Education 17, 247–253.

Gross, J. and Elkhart, D. (1986) “Modified contractual grading”, Nursing Outlook 34, 184–187.

Hardigan, P. (1994) “Investigation of Learning Contracts in Pharmaceutical Education”, American Journal of Pharmacy Education 58, 386–390.

Iverson, C. (1995) “The power of the learning contract emerges once again”, Adult Learning, 6, 15–16.

Knowles, M. (1975) Self-directed learning: a guide for learners and teachers (Follett, Chicago).

Knowles, M. (1986) Using learning contracts (Jossey-Bass Publications, San Francisco).

Martens, H. (1981) “Self directed learning: an option for nursing education”, Nursing Outlook, 472–477.

Marton, F. and Saljo, R. (1984) “Approaches to learning”, The Experience of Learning (Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh).

McGarrell, H.M. (1996) “Self-directed learning contracts to individualise language learning in the classroom”, Foreign Language Annals 29(3), 496–550.

NHS (1995) Executive Letter [EL(95)27] Education and Training in the New NHS. Report of the working party on education and training(1987) “Preregistration experience and vocational training— Part II”, Pharm Journal 238, 647–658.

Richardson, S. (1987) “Implementing contract learning in a senior nursing practicum”, Journal of Advanced Nursing 12, 201–206.

Seymour, D. (1988) “Staff development by negotiated learning contract”, Industrial and Commercial Training 20(6), 24–27.

Snowball, J., Ross, K. and Murphy, K. (1994) “Illuminating dissertation supervision through reflection”, Journal of Advanced Nursing 19, 1234–1240.

Solomon, P. (1992) “Learning contracts in clinical education: evaluation by clinical supervisors”, Medical Teacher 14(2/3), 205–210.

Walker, M.N. and Kennedy, T. (1977) “Open learning—an Australian experiment in self paced, personalised distance education by learning contract”, Australian Journal of Adult Education 17(3), 9–14. Wykes, V. and Edges, S. (1993) “Training—where are we now?”, Pharm Journal 251, E9–E10.

Published

01/01/2001

Issue

Section

Research Article