As an Instructional Designer, motivating learners is an important consideration because in reality learners are not always motivated to learn. They’re busy, they have other things to do, they don’t see the course as being important or have had a bad experience in the past. Would you like to motivate your learners based on the ARCS Model?

Motivate Your Learners Based on The ARCS Model

Dr John Keller’s motivational design model, known as the ARCS model, is comprised of four major factors that influence the motivation to learn – Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction. It’s described as a problem-solving model and helps designers identify and solve specific motivational problems related to the appeal of instruction. The model was developed after a comprehensive review and synthesis of motivation concepts and research studies.The four categories of motivation variables comprise of sub-categories along with process questions to consider when designing eLearning (or any kind of learning):AttentionCapturing the interest of learners, stimulating their curiosity to learn.

  1. Perceptual ArousalWhat can I do to capture their interest?
  2. Inquiry ArousalHow can I stimulate an attitude of inquiry?
  3. VariabilityHow can I maintain their attention?

RelevanceMeeting the personal needs/goals of the learner to affect a positive attitude.

  1. Goal OrientationHow can I best meet my learner’s needs?
  2. Motive MatchingHow and when can I provide my learners with appropriate choices, responsibilities and influences?
  3. FamiliarityHow can I tie the instruction to the learners’ experience?

ConfidenceHelping the learners believe/feel that they will succeed and control their success.

  1. Learning RequirementsHow can I assist in building a positive expectation for success?
  2. Success OpportunitiesHow will the learning experience support or enhance the learners’ beliefs in their competence?
  3. Personal ControlHow will learners clearly know their success is based upon their efforts and abilities?

SatisfactionReinforcing accomplishment with rewards (internal and external).

  1. Natural ConsequencesHow can I provide meaningful opportunities for learners to use their newly acquired knowledge/skill?
  2. Positive ConsequencesWhat will provide reinforcement to the learners’ successes?
  3. EquityHow can I assist the learners in anchoring a positive feeling about their accomplishments?

What I really like about ARCS is that it puts the learner at the centre of the design process. After all, that’s how it should be.

References and further information:

Keller, J. M. (1987) Strategies for stimulating the motivation to learn. Performance and Instruction. 26 (8), 1-7.

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