Learning Agreement Guide

The learning agreement is the structure by which the student and the supervisor develop and describe the details of the field education placement.

It should flow from the student's overall learning goal, which informs the arts of ministry the student wishes to develop. From that, the various tasks the student will perform at the field education site can be identified. There should be an overall consistency among all these parts.

A well-constructed learning agreement:

  • delimits goals, objectives, tasks, resources and supervision
  • ensures the expectations of the site and the student are clearly delineated and mutually agreed upon
  • provides clarity, accountability, and appropriate limits
  • guarantees that evaluations and any negotiated changes to the agreement proceed from a common understanding of specific tasks and expectations

Completing the learning agreement

  1. Students fill out the Learning Agreement completely including all written details describing the proposed learning at the site. The Learning Agreement, in one document, should include the following:
    • a detailed weekly schedule
    • the time and location of the supervision meetings
    • any agreed upon time off
    • a description of the supervision plans
    • learning goal
    • a detailed description of which arts of ministry will be explored through the various tasks
    • projects and resources the student will draw upon throughout the placement
  2. Students upload to Canvas the completed Learning Agreement in one document.

Sample Learning Agreements

Learning agreement description

In two to three written pages, provide a written description of the learning agreement. Organize your learning agreement using the categories below. This description will include plans to develop arts of ministry, the tasks and projects, the available resources and the supervision plans. In all sections, be specific so there is clarity, mutually shared expectations, and later, when you write evaluations, it is simple to appraise the level of completion and make appropriate alterations.

Learning goal

Indicate in a few sentences or a short paragraph your overall expectations for this learning experience in light of your vocational and professional goals. For example: What has led you to choose this setting as your field education placement?

Arts of ministry

Describe each of the arts of ministry you plan to develop in this placement, using as precise objectives as possible. Indicate the issues you wish to explore, the competencies you wish to cultivate, the theological areas you wish to reflect on, and the areas of personal and spiritual growth you would like to address.


Considering the arts of ministry and the issues and areas you intend to address, describe each task you have agreed to do in this placement. Indicate the arts of ministry to which each task relates. Describe each task as specifically as possible. For example, if you are preaching, indicate how many times in the year and the dates if they are known. If you are planning programs and events, give dates and responsibilities associated with each event.


For each task, outline the resources available to support and educate you. Resources may be people in the placement, courses you have taken or will take, reading assigned in the placement, or your professional or personal experience.


Specify the ways in which your work will be presented and reflected upon in supervision. The supervision to which this section refers is different from planning or staff meetings. This is the time to reflect theologically and in other ways about your work, your interactions, your identity, and your theology as they come up in your ministry. There are many useful tools to help this supervisory process. Among them are theological reflection reports, critical incident reports, verbatim reports, sermon feedback forms, or journals.

HDS Voices

Karen King

I am very fortunate to work with faculty who are deeply interested in research and what's happening in the study of religion. Although HDS offers a very high quality of ministerial training and great resources for field study, it also offers the ability to study religion in the context of a university.
Karen L. King, Hollis Professor of Divinity

Karen L. King explains what Coptic literature reveals about early Christianity in 'Beyond Heresy'