51+ Sample Learning Contracts

What Is a Learning Contract?

A learning contract is a written agreement between a learner and an educator. Although, its goals and objectives may vary from case to case, the most fundamental goal of a learning contract is to help maximize learning capacity. 

According to an online article by LinkedIn, continuous learning is important because it helps a person achieve self-actualization and helps maximize one’s potential. It also helps prevent stagnation. People who make the determined effort to constantly learn new things find that it is beneficial for both one’s personal and professional life.  

Different Ways to Learn

Learning styles differ from person to person and can be classified into subgroups. One theory presupposes that there are visual, audio, and kinetic learners. Not everyone learns and absorbs knowledge in the same way; and there can be countless ways to gain knowledge. The following are just some examples of different ways to learn: 

Group and Peer Learning: In school, people don’t only learn from their teachers; students learn from one another as well. And in some cases, even more so than their teachers. School age children are particularly susceptible to peer influence. So it goes without saying that group or peer learning can be an effective method. Group dynamics and small group discussions promote an air conducive to learning. Students can easily bounce off each other’s ideas. Group learning can be an excellent supplementary education, in addition to traditional classroom setups. When people learn from each other and exchange ideas, knowledge is shared and this helps get people thinking.  Tutor Sessions: Some students require additional assistance or remedial classes. Parents hire tutors to help their children in their academic requirements. Tutors can supplement a classroom lessons and assignments. Private tutoring can be helpful, especially if a student is struggling in a particular subject. Having a tutoring session that is course-specific, instead of one that is general or too broad, may achieve a more focused study and bring better results. One-on-one Learning: Tutoring sessions can either be done individually or by group. But a one-on-one learning session can be beneficial because the attention is focused on the student and no one else. The instructor or teacher is 100% available to answer the student’s concerns and questions. A lot can be gained from the exchange of insight and ideas with little to no outside distraction. These one-on-one sessions are oftentimes referred to as consultations or mentoring sessions. Independent Study or Self-study: There are times when you don’t have anyone else to rely on except yourself. Each person is different; and for some, learning can come fast and easy or it may take time to find the right footing, depending on the individual. Self-study takes a lot of will, patience, perseverance, and persistent determination. Most people have heard of self-taught people who studied and worked hard to master their craft. Although independent study, like most things, comes with pros and cons lists. It can be an empowering and reflective experience to gain knowledge on your own; but it can also be more difficult to confirm the right information without anyone to consult or look to for validation. Immersive Learning: One of the most potent learning techniques is through immersion. Taking a deep dive into a field or area of study broadens and enriches the learning experience. It is not only surface level information that is gained, but a deeper and more holistic learning takes place. For example, if a college student wants to gain more insight and knowledge into the field of event management, an immersive experience would entail actually getting involved in the entire process- from planning, operations, to post-production. On-the-job Training: Offering an internship program is widely practiced by a lot of companies and organizations. It can be considered a preview to an actual job. Most college students or graduating seniors are required to undergo on-the-job training in their chosen fields. Interns are employed everywhere and can be found in various types of industries. An internship can be seen as a way of preparing a person for a career or field. It basically gives a student an idea of what being in the workforce is like.

Parts of a Learning Contract 

Learning contracts vary and can contain multiple sections. Some are simple and straightforward while others are more detailed and complex. The examples below are common features found in a learning contract: 

Commitment Statement: A learning contract’s aim is to instill commitment and accountability. This can be as simple as a single declarative sentence. Although it is not absolutely necessary, it can give additonal motivation to the learner especially in times of doubt. It is only when the student is committed to his or her goals can learning be maximized. Genuine progress and development plans cannot take place without some form of commitment from the learner. Student Expectations: In a typical contract, each party’s role is defined and outlined. It is the same way with a learning contract. The student’s expectations should be identified. The learning contract is for the benefit of the learner; thus they must take an active role in their education. The instructor, on the other hand, must be firm in setting the rules and guidelines. It is his responsibility to establish what is expected of the student learner. In other cases, both teacher and student do collaborate and work on the expectations together. Confidentiality: The teacher should respect the privacy of the student. Confidentiality statements can offer some level of protection for the student. It is only ethical that learning sessions be selectively disclosed and should not be divulged to just anyone. The responsibility essentially falls on the author of the contract to properly define what can be disclosed to the public and what cannot. Review: The aim of a learning contract is long-term benefits and sustainable results. To achieve this, there has to be a commitment to constant improvement. Another example of a condition that can be inserted in a learning contract is a performance review. This means the student or learner will be subject to regular reviews and assessment in order to track their progress more effectively and identify areas that need improvement. Personal Goals: It is highly likely that a student will not honor or stick to a learning contract if the contract is one-sided or strongly imposed on him or her. Learners need to be able to feel that they have a say in their own education and development. Allowing the student to state their own personal goal statement in the contract will give them a sense of empowerment. They ought to be given the freedom to actively contribute to their own learning journey. Placing personal individual goals can also help the learner reflect on what he or she hopes to gain from the learning sessions. Teacher Actions: The role of the teacher or instructor is crucial. Without the proper guidance and mentorship, the learning contract cannot come to fruition. An educator’s influence on a student should not be underestimated. In the same way student expectations should be enumerated in the agreement, the teacher’s actions should likewise be identified and outlined in the contract. Learning is always a two-way process and will rarely produce any results if only one party is putting in all the effort. Evaluation Criteria: Metrics are important to concretize results and progress. How the student will be graded and evaluated needs to be clearly defined in the learning contract. The specific criteria should therefore be included. Learning evaluation and assessment are important because it will help address any need for improvement. It can also highlight the positive or high points in a student’s learning journey. In other words, it is a helpful way of knowing what works and what does not.

How to Create a Learning Contract

If creating a learning contract from scratch seems too intimidating and time-consuming for you, using an existing template will make it easier. Just make sure you know what you want included in your contract then follow the steps below: 

Step 1: Identify the Parties

Begin your contract by introducing the parties involved. Use the complete name when identifying each party. Make the text bold for the names of the parties. Stick to a standard format and provide the date and title for the contract. You also have the option to include the complete addresses of both parties.    

Step 2: Establish Learning Objectives 

A fundamental part of a learning contract is the objectives. Why does the student need a learning contract in the first place? What should the student accomplish before the contract expires? It is important to lay down the objectives at the beginning of the agreement. It will consequently set the tone of the entire contract. Try sticking to just a couple of learning objectives to stay realistic and focused. As much as possible, use direct and descriptive language when detailing your learning objectives. The more concrete the goals are, the better.    

Step 3: Assign the Work

Identify the resources that can be utilized to meet the learning objectives. Assigning the work basically means how you plan to act and approach the learning goals. The section should outline and break down the terms and conditions. Aside from a detailed plan of action, you should also include general guidelines such as termination policy, liability clauses, payment terms, etc.   

Step 4: Update and Evaluate   

A learning contract will be unsustainable if there is no concerted effort to maintain positive results. It is vital to check in and assess the performance of the student. How frequent or regular the evaluations may be stipulated and specified within the contract. For example, you can insert a condition wherein the student is subjected to periodic evaluations for more effective tracking of their learning progress. 


How do you write a learning contract?

To write a learning contract, you need to identify the parties in the agreement and state their complete names and/or name of the organization. Afterwards, the bulk of your contract must contain information and the terms regarding the nature of the agreement. Refer to the concepts and tips above for ideas on what to include in your learning contract.

What is included in a learning contract?

A learning contract can consist of both specific and general terms. Depending on the nature of the contract, some will include the learning objectives, lesson schedules, as well as the roles and responsibilities of both student and instructor. Others are more generic and will only stipulate general liability terms, payment guidelines, and severability clauses, etc.

What is the objective of the learning contract?

The objective of a learning contract is to establish and execute a clear and definite learning goal that will benefit the student-learner. A learning contract also encourages and empowers the student to be more accountable with his education. It promotes proactive intention and cultivates a sense of responsibility.

Learning contracts are for those who want to make conscious decisions to improve the quality of their education. Even though it may come with pressure and high expectations, the benefit of a learning contract is that it promotes a sense of responsibility for one’s education and learning. Browse the several sample templates above to get started on yours now!