In higher education institutions, students normally register for a programme of study and for a number of specific course units/modules on either an annual or a semester basis. In practice, this represents a Learning Agreement for home students. By registering the student, the higher education institution enters into an agreement to deliver the courses and to grant credits for the achievement of the expected learning outcomes.
Learning Agreement for mobile students
The ECTS Learning Agreement was originally developed for mobile students in order to provide a binding agreement before the mobility experience. When used for mobile students, Learning Agreements contain the list of course units or modules or other educational components the student is planning to take at the other institution, together with the code numbers and the ECTS credits allocated to the components.
An ECTS Learning Agreement is drawn up for a semester or a year of study and must be signed by the home institution, the host institution and the student.
Those signing on behalf of the two institutions must be in a formal position of authority which allows them to commit the institutions. For the host institution, the commitment is to register the incoming student in the planned course units/modules and to provide the required learning activities; for the home institution, it is to grant recognition of the credits gained at the other institution. A student should not be asked to negotiate academic recognition with individual academic staff members. The Learning Agreement, together with the Transcript of Records, is designed to guarantee full recognition of the programme of study undertaken in the host institution.
A programme of study may need to be modified after the arrival of the mobile student. In such cases, the Learning Agreement should be amended as soon as possible and endorsed by the three parties: the home institution, the host institution and the student. Only in this way can the recognition of the period of study continue to be fully guaranteed.
Learning Agreement for work placements - Training Agreement
Learning Agreements for work placements or Training Agreements are also essential for work placements that are a required part of programmes. They should contain the same basic elements as the standard Learning Agreement, although obviously there are differences.
The Training Agreement should indicate clearly the location of the work placement, the period of the placement, the work to be undertaken (job description), the learner’s rights and duties, and the expected learning outcomes. It will also need to indicate what assessment and assessment criteria will be used in relation to the expected learning outcomes and who will be responsible for this, i.e. the role of the work placement provider (employer) and, whenever applicable, the host institution.
The Training Agreement should be signed by the three parties – the learner, the home educational institution and the work placement provider (employer).
Where a host institution is involved it is also expected to sign the agreement. The primary responsibility lies with the qualification awarding institution.
The Agreement should indicate the number of ECTS credits which will be awarded on achievement of the expected learning outcomes.