Contract Learning Defined

Journalism of this sort can on occasion be a humbling experience. The case of contract learning is just such a situation. It’s very rare that I not only don’t know what something is, within this field of all things, let alone find it really hard to find out. In this age of instant information, that’s a really unnerving rarity. Well, I’m still not sure I know what contract learning is.

What I Think this Means:

I think contract learning is just the concept of drafting and adhering to a training contract, and using contractual obligations along with the business agreement mindset to support training directives and set responsibilities or ramifications.

This sort of thing would also provide clear returns on training completion, because in many cases this sort of thing is done when some kind of promotions, benefits, raises or form of corporate tenure are up for grabs providing necessary training to qualify is completed. This is a bit heavy-handed though, and kind of treads on that stuffiness we tried to get rid of when we kicked classrooms out.

But … till …

The Problem with This:

Well, you probably have your incentives aspect of your training worked out, and you do have a clear set of who has to rely on what and how things must be done, as contracts state in any situation. So, a few hurdles in training are crossed already here.

The problem arises in the fact that you have crap else solved at this point.

Not a Model:

This is not a model, it’s a tool. I looked into this expecting some kind of learning model, but like gamification or any other augmentation system, it does not strictly define the learning model you will use.

In fact, one of the things it actually does is provide a documentary platform in which to explicitly outline the model you plan to use, and as a foundation in binding print to reinforce this.

Looking Beyond:

In most cases, this is an echo of an environment with higher stakes, greater conflicts and superior rewards. So, it brings with it a sense of weight. You know you’re in the big time now, you have learning contracts to adhere to.

But it doesn’t have to be so heavy handed. This can just be a good step to take in general, when you have your model chosen and everything else ready to get started.

This contract doesn’t have to be court-admissible to still serve a purpose, given its definitive and reinforcing capacities as stated above. So I can see this just being a good tool to instill obligation and sincerity even in cases where it’s not so severe.


This should never be a contract that defines job security or threatens the loss thereof. That will bring stress that you cannot begin to imagine, and it’s all just going to fall apart. I have seen that sort of thing happen.

Yeah, complacency should be discouraged, but there’s such a thing as ruling with an open hand, rather than a closed fist.

That’s what I think they mean by contract learning, as that’s the established practice I already knew of, which seems to come up when you look for this. I guess it’s just a good call term for “the use of a learning contract” which is of course more awkward to say often.

Jason Silberman
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog
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