Adult Learners in Higher Education and Training

Contract learning has been a significant mode of learning among the adult learners that provide alternative structured learning.
According to tom Malcolm Knowles, contract learning is learning that replaces the content of a plan with a learning process (Knowles, 1986). Therefore, the learning process should be self-directed and independent thereby allowing students to be intensely involved in their learning. Knowles’s contract learning urges teachers for adult learners to make their students active participants rather than passive recipients in knowledge creation (Knowles, 1995). Therefore, contract learning aims at assigning more learning input from the student rather than making learning teacher-centered. Knowles further notes that the use of contract learning will help solve some learning problems by reducing the wide different gap between different learning groups among adult learners.
The essence of the learning contract is because learning institutions often receive people or learners from different backgrounds, with varied interest, previous experiences, lifestyle, learning styles, learning speeds, and outside commitments. Knowles noted that didactic is the sure way to all these interests since this teaching will aim at the middle (Knowles, 1986). Notably, concentrating at the middle will pull students at the lower end towards the middle so that they are not left far behind and those at the top will not be extremely bored. The contract learning is to assist student structure their own learning towards meeting the learning or educational needs (Knowles, 1995).
Development of Learning Contract
Developing a learning contract often requires a sense of cognitive and personal learning styles. There is also a need for the teacher to diagnose his or her personal learning needs in relation to what the students need. This will also help in projecting the expectation at the end of the learning contract. Finally, there is a need for the teacher for formulating specific objects to be accomplished after the learning contract.