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Assessment 2(c) consists of your final contract report, Sections I and II (although submitted as one final report). This report will be graded.
The Learning Contract Report (Assessments 2b & 2c), asks you to present a report on your learning. The Learning Contract Report is made up of two sections:
• Section I: This will contain the introduction, literature review, reflections on the literature, methodology, and reference list (NB When completing the Final Report this reference list moves from Section 1 and goes to the end of the Final report).
• Section II: This will contain your learning in action, analysis and evaluation of the outcomes, reference list and reflections of your learning.
You have completed Section I and will now complete the report by including Section II.
In the following sections you will find:
• Learning contract guide (Parts A, B & C)
• Learning contract proposal form [with sample content]
• Learning contract proposal form
1. Where the report is using secondary data, the data must be sourced from category A sources – eg WTO, OECD, World Bank, National Governments etc. Use of general secondary data is insufficient and will not permit you to do the critical analysis required for the assessment.
2. The reflection is a core part of the report and you must refer to the subject outline for details and specifics – ensure that you complete fully
3. This final section of your report should be approx 20 pages excluding reference list. Please ensure that you undertake each section fully and comprehensively.
Part C – Writing Up Your Learning Contract Final Report
NB Read this section through carefully when you’re developing your contract, and again before you begin your report.
Your contract report needs to document thoroughly what you did, how you did it and your results and reflections on these results. Your report should be a professional presentation and provide sufficient detail to convince the reader that you have achieved your objectives.
Your report must have a structure so that the reader can easily follow it, and it should cover the following aspects which form the basis for the assessment of your report.
Your report will consist of the following two sections:
This will contain the introduction, literature review, reflections on the literature, methodology, and reference list (NB When completing the Final Report this reference list moves from Section 1 and goes to the end of the Final report).
This will contain your learning in action, analysis and evaluation of the outcomes, reference list and reflections of your learning.
You will send Section I as a draft by the date indicated at the beginning of this Subject Outline. This will give you a chance to receive feedback on this draft from your facilitator. You will then make any changes necessary and send in Section I together with Section II of your final report for consideration by your group facilitator.
The trigger questions included below are intended to stimulate your thinking and to help you cover each section adequately—they are a guide for you. You may well come up with additional or alternative questions of your own.
1. Introduction (half to one page)
This should state your learning goal and its relevance for you—it will be very similar to that which you wrote on your contract proposal for learning goal and preliminary diagnosis.
2. Literature review (5 to 10 pages)
Your literature review should flow from your contract goal. That is, if you’re looking at improving decision making in your work group, the literature review should focus primarily on this, although it would also include a general discussion of group effectiveness.
You are expected to read quite extensively for the literature review. This includes both reading on your learning goal and reading generally in the area of your contract to place your goal within the context of the area. In general, you would be expected to read and refer to approximately eight (8) articles/papers/books in your literature review. This means that you will need to search for information in addition to the articles in the collected readings.
Following this section on the learning contract report, I have included some notes on writing a literature review which you should find helpful. Please refer to them before you begin this section.
*** See also: ‘Guide for writing a literature review’ in Interact resources/Assessment Information. ***
3. Reflections on your reading (about 2-3 pages)
Your reflections should flow from your reading and relate back to your contract goal. This is where you express your feelings, reactions and ideas about what you’ve read and its relevance for your learning goal. Use this section to explore the meaning of your contract goal now that you’ve read some literature on it. Toss around some ideas for strategies for your methodology.
Use the following trigger questions to help you here, as well as the reflections process as a mind map, at the end of this section on writing your report.
• What are the major implications of what you’ve read for your contract goal? What ideas, concepts, etc. are most relevant to your contract goal? Why?
• How has your understanding of the topic broadened and deepened as a result of your reading?
• What ideas does it give you for your strategies?
• Where you are working on a goal to develop some skill(s) within yourself or a group, include here an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses (or those of your group) in relation to your contract goal and in the light of what you’ve read and reflected on.
4. Methodology (about 1-2 pages)
Your methodology should flow from your reading and reflections and indicate clearly your strategies and how you intend to carry them out. Keep it specific and concise.
This is where you describe how you intend to reach your goal.
• What was your basic plan for achieving your learning goal? Clearly list three to four strategies, showing what you’ll do, and how you’ll do it. Remember, one strategy must be a collection of media reports related to your issue.
• What steps, processes or tools will you use?
e.g. suggestions from the literature re developing the skills, interviews, observations, plans/strategies you implemented, methods you used to analyse and evaluate your learning etc. If you use interviews or questionnaires, list the themes you explored here, and put a copy of the questions in an Appendix at the end of your report. Also, describe the sample of people you approached re age, sex, etc.
*** See also: ‘Guide for conducting interviews’ in Interact resources/Assessment Information
NB: The methodology you choose may need to be massaged and modified as you go along. This is what learning in action is all about. You try something, and if it doesn’t work, you modify your approach—maybe even your theory, and try again.
The next section of your report is where you describe any
action ——> revision ——> further action and the
or strategies outcomes.
5. Reference list (this moves to the end when doing the Final Report)
List all your references using APA Referencing. Attach any appendices, e.g. questionnaire, detailed tables etc.
6. Learning in action (about 3-5 pages)
Your learning in action section must comment on your action regarding each of the strategies you listed in your methodology and also show if you introduced any new strategies or modified the original ones.
If you conducted interviews, see below for specific guidelines.
This is where you describe in some detail WHAT you did and what the outcomes were for each strategy. It is, in effect, your action theory in action. Give plenty of specific examples to illustrate what happened.
We suggest you use each strategy as a subheading to help you organise this section. Then, use the following questions to guide your description of the action on each strategy. The relevance of some questions will depend on your contract focus.
• What happened as you put your ideas/plans/strategies into action?
• How did your colleagues, workgroup etc. respond?
• What problems were encountered? Why do you think they arose? How did you address these?
• What worked? What didn’t?
• What did you learn about yourself from your assessment of your strengths and weaknesses?
• What changes did you need to make to your strategies to keep moving towards achieving your learning goal?
• Why did you need to make these changes?
If you conducted interviews or surveys, set out this section as follows:
• Describe your experiences in setting up and conducting the interviews/surveys. Discuss any problems, and note any changes to your original method.
• Identify the major themes emerging from your data. These will generally be the same as the ones you listed in your methodology. However, you may have discovered some new ones as well.
• Use the themes as subheadings and summarise your results for all respondents under each theme. Don’t summarise each participant’s responses separately: combine the data and show where there is agreement/disagreement between the participants. If you want to, you can quote some responses (sparingly!) if you think they serve to illustrate the theme well. If you want to include the transcripts of your interviews—put them in an appendix.
• Include an appendix with a copy of your interview questions or survey, and your Subject Information Sheet.
7. Analysis and evaluation (3-4 pages)
Use each strategy you tried out (or theme you explored in the case of interviews or surveys) as a subheading for this section.
For contracts which are based on interviews:
This is where you interpret the outcomes of your learning in action. You’ll need to think deeply about the implications of your outcomes. For each strategy or theme, ask yourself questions such as:
• How effective was the strategy/theme in helping me move towards my goal?
• What do these outcomes mean? Why?
• How do they affect me/my group/the people I interviewed? Why?
• What implications do they have for me/my group/the people I interviewed/the theme I was exploring? Why?
• What implications do they have for staff generally, but specifically for managers and leaders? Why?
• What are the implications for my community (relevant for some contracts)?
For each strategy or theme link your outcomes to the literature you read, showing where there is agreement or disagreement.
‘I found Johnson and Johnson’s (1991) concept of interdependence was central to the effectiveness of my group. If this was lacking, our ability to solve problems was reduced’.
‘The women in this rural community are still having difficulty being accepted as farmers in their own right. Many businesses see the male farmer as the manager, and often refuse to talk to the female farmer re the business. This supports Alston’s (1995) and Dempsey’s (1992) findings that women were mostly seen as the helpers in the farm partnership, and were not equal in terms of management’.
Your ability to see links between the literature and your outcomes indicates to us that you can think critically about the outcomes and can see how theory and practice work together.
For contracts which are based on interviews or surveys:
• In addition to the above, identify two major issues/problems emerging from the data. For example, if you were interviewing about management style, you might identify managers’ discomfort at relinquishing control as a major problem.
• Then, develop a recommendation for addressing each issue or problem, based on your reading, but showing your ideas here, but based on and informed by the literature and your research. Identify major advantages and disadvantages of your recommendation.
Devote about a page to each issue/problem.
For all contracts
Consider the following general questions re your contract:
• How did you handle the key events that influenced the achievement of the contract? What did you do well/not so well? Why?
• What unintended/unexpected outcomes occurred?
• What are the ‘what ifs’? Speculate briefly on what the outcomes might have been if you’d done things differently.
• How would you approach the goal next time around? That is, what changes would you make to your methodology?
8. Reference list
List all your references using APA referencing style. Attach any appendices, e.g. questionnaire, detailed tables etc.
9. Reflections on your learning (2-4 pages)
This is where you reflect deeply on your learning processes in your contracts.
Here’s where you step back from the content, which you’ve described in the other parts of your report, and think about how you went about doing the learning.
The Kolb Learning Cycle (Learning style inventory) and the Principles of Experiential Learning should form the basis for your reflections here. The Reflection Process as a mind map will help here also.
Did you feel more comfortable using one part of the Kolb Cycle in preference to another? For example, what time did you devote to reflecting on what happened as compared with actually doing the activity? How much time did you give to generating new ideas – to thinking about what to do next?
The learning contract process pushes you to plan, act, reflect and generate ideas from analysis, which is very similar to the finer points of the Kolb Cycle.
What did you discover about the way you learn?
Did you learn mostly by:
• being told something?
• puzzling things out for yourself?
• emotional responses?
• intellectual, abstract thinking process?
• talking problems through with other people?
• observing others?
• letting ideas incubate in the back of your mind?
• consciously reflecting about your past experiences?
• trial and error, experimentation?
• other ways?
• a combination of some of these ways?
• what do you now have to offer about learning that would help someone just beginning this process?
• what would you do to be a more effective learner?
• look at the Principles of Experiential Learning. What connections do you see between these principles and your learning in the contract?
The Reflection Process as a Mindmap
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