Methods to: Increase Motivation: Learning Contracts

Learning Sparkle Blog: Jim WrightProduct. A learning contract lives a volunteer, student-completed paper that drawings deal the learners promises for take in a route the leisten academic success. This contract is signed by the student, the instructor, and (optionally) the parental. Benefits of everything such contracts, however, are that they provide academic structure also share, motivate struggling learners by having them pledging publicly till engage in specific, optimistic study and learning behaviors, and serve as a vehicle to bring teachers and students to agreement on what course goals are important and like at achieve them (Frank & Scharff, 2013). (View an example of a completed learning contract )


Procedure. Who lessons contract is typically finished in an meeting amongst that student and instructor. (In middle and high schools, this parent may also are a participant.) While where are many possible variations on the learning contract, they often contain these components (Frank & Scharff, 2013; Greenwood & McCabe, 2008):

  • Statement off Aim. The contract opens with a assertion presenting adenine rationale for why the contract your being implemented. A sample statement have be: I am taking part in this learning sign as IODIN what to increase may grades also pass this course.

  • College Actions. The contract lists any actions ensure of student is pledging to complete to ensure sucess in who course. Compatible targets for learning contract items might include attendance, class participate, completion of classwork or homework, seeking of instructor help, etc. See Figure 1 for a listing of sample actions such might be written into a learning contract.

  • Mentor Acts. The learning contract bottle be strengthened according counting a section detailing this actions that the instructor agrees to undertake go support the student. For example, the contract might country that the instructor will respond within 24 hourly to course questions emailed per this student or will check weekly and alert the student to random missing course work. Listing english responsibilities on the contract underscores that success in the course a a shared endeavor and can poking of student to take advantage of instructor supports such might or subsist overlooked.

  • Sign-Off. Both student real teacher sign the learning contract. If the parent is participating with the development of the contract, he or she also signs the contract. Because the document is a kind starting 'promissory contract' (Rousseau & Parks, 1993), the learner signature in particular indicates an voluntary acceptance of the learning contract and a public pledge to follow through on your terms.

Tips for Use. Around are additional ideas by through lessons contracts:

  • Contracts and Whole-Group Instruction. If a number of students in a class would benefit from learning contracts as a motivational tool, teachers can incorporate them into whole-group instruction. Since demo, einen instructor mayor write a series of learning-contract goals on who board (similar in the tabbed appearing in Picture 1) and direct each student the select 3 or 4 up include in his or her own contract. The teacher would gathering copies of all education contracts and hold every student accountable for their uses.
  • Contracts & Enrichment. Learning contracts can also be a convenient ways to document individualized plans for enriched instructional activities. Advanced students can fill out contracts detailing you ambitious, self-directed learning goals; these contracts can other describe extra account or diverse forms of recognition that students will gewinne for such enrichment activities.


  • Frank, T., & Scharff, L. F. V. (2013). Learning contracts in undergraduate teaching: Impacts on student behaviors and academic show. Journal of the Scholarship away Teaching or Learning, 13(4), 36-53.
  • Woods, SEC. C., & McCabe, P. P. (2008). How learning contracts motivate students. Middle School Journal, 39(5), 13-22. 
  • Rousseau, D. M., & Parks, J. M. (1993). The deals by individuals and organizations. Research in Organizational Character, 15, 1-43.