Strategic Learning Contracts (SLC), refers to a document that captures shared expectations about the purpose, process and end results that are to come from any learning opportunity & experience. These documents may also be used to plan learning for the upcoming year for employees.
The thought behind SLC is primarily about bringing accountability on part of the employee as well as an organisation as equal opportunity participants supporting the learning & development agenda of the workforce. The focus in this case being the on going and future talent requirements of an organisation.
The concept may also be termed as Strategic Learning Contracts of Self Development Plan (SDP) or Development Planning. All of these involves identifying focussed learning needs and documenting the action plan on their implementation through clearly agreed upon actions. The difference between SLC and PDP / SDP / DP being that SLC tries to bring in higher level of accountability in the whole process.
The term SLC holds more importance in situations where in there is some kind of state / government mandated provision in employment laws that makes employee development a focus area for employers. In such scenarios employee development is not a voluntary activity but a necessity. And SLC ensures that both the employee and employer participates in the process.
For being effective – The SLC also needs to contain some reference to how the intended learning would be be applied in the workplace, (this is actually the “why”), and any supports required by the employees to apply the learning. A two way commitment ensures that the employees get desired support and the employers are able to bridge necessary gaps and develop employees according to future requirements of the organisation.