A Closer Look At Gagne’s Conditions Of Learning And Tips To Apply Them

A Closer Look At Gagne’s Conditions Of Learning And Tips To Apply Them
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Summary: Have you tried teaching a new concept or skill to a group of corporate learners and created more confusion than clarity? Creating the ideal online training experience is no small feat. In this article, I’ll share how Gagne’s Conditions of Learning can help you ensure that your corporate learners get the most from online training.

Gagne’s Conditions Of Learning: A 9-Step Plan For Effective Learning

People take classes and online courses with the intention of gaining new skills and knowledge. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Poor teaching methods, unresponsive learners and a lack of preparation are some of the factors that interfere with the learning process. In an effort to streamline learning and make knowledge assimilation easier for the learners, Robert Gagne came up with the Conditions of Learning. These conditions are ideal for all learning preferences and experience levels. When they are implemented in a corporate setting, they can help employees build valuable jobs skills and enhance their productivity. Here is a 9-step plan based on Gagne’s Conditions of Learning, and tips to apply them in your eLearning course design.

Gagne's 9-Step Plan For Engaging Learning

Step 1: Grab Their Attention

It is crucial to gain the attention of your corporate learners before proceeding with the lesson. You can do this by showing them a video or asking a thought-provoking question that ties into the subject matter. This alerts them and prepares them for the learning process. Just make certain that your course opener doesn’t stir up so much controversy that corporate learners are distracted. Insightful cartoons, anecdotes, and examples are also great attention-grabbing resources.

Step 2: Clarify Objectives

Before you begin any online training session, you should make your corporate learners understand why you are offering them that particular resource. Online training is not necessarily something that employees look forward to. Thus, most will switch off and disengage if there’s no purpose behind the online training activity. It’s crucial to clarify the learning objectives and goals of the online training course, as well as the real-world benefits. Make them aware of the rewards active participation will bring so that they’re more likely to give their all.

Step 3: Add Recall To The Equation

When introducing new lessons to your corporate learners, it is advisable to relate the information to something that corporate learners are already familiar with. This could be something that you taught them in the past or previous challenges that they have encountered at work. These elements allow them to recall information they’ve stored in their memory banks so that they can tie it to new concepts. Include stories or simulations that help corporate learners see the connection between information they know and fresh ideas. Images, summaries, and infographics that provide an overview of previous topics are also valuable online training tools.

Step 4: Present The Information

According to Gagne’s Conditions of Learning, at this point, you can proceed and share new information with corporate learners. The key is to provide them with the information in a way that’s easy to absorb and comprehend. Use different delivery formats, like active learning, videos, and verbal instructions as you could be dealing with a diverse group of corporate learners and a single delivery format may not cater to everyone's learning preferences.

Step 5: Facilitate Knowledge Retention

Sharing information is not enough when teaching a new subject. Especially complex ideas or tasks that involve multiple steps or skill sets. You need to help your corporate learners retain the information through demos and visual illustrations. This includes graphics, case studies, and online training tutorials. The human mind absorbs information more effectively when it learns by doing. Instead of merely reading a manual that explores a work-related task, they can watch a demo video that highlights every step and shows them the proper way to apply their skills and previously learned knowledge.

Step 6: Elicit Performance

In this stage, Gagne’s Conditions of Learning recommend getting your corporate learners to showcase their new-found knowledge by demonstrating the skills, processes, or information they’ve acquired. You can ask them questions to gauge their understanding of the concepts or invite them to perform the task in a simulated work environment. This is their chance to show off their newfound knowledge and identify areas for improvement (which is aided by Step #7). You can also include videos that showcase the correct/incorrect ideas or processes. Then ask them to choose the right approach and explain why it’s favorable.

Step 7: Provide Personalized Feedback

After the short demonstration, you must gauge learner performance and give personalized eLearning feedback. Your input should identify corporate learners’ strengths and areas for improvement so that they can correct their mistakes. For example, outline which steps they overlooked or the skills they need to develop. Then provide them with a list of recommended online training resources they can use to remedy the issue.

Step 8: Assess Performance

The next step would be to give corporate learners a short online training activity that they perform autonomously. This will help you determine whether they learned the skills and information, or require further assistance. Qualitative assessments, surveys, and on-the-job observations can provide you with the complete picture. For example, branching scenarios test their problem-solving skills in a virtual environment while a survey offers insight into the overall online training experience and how they evaluate their own performance.

Step 9: Reinforce And Refresh Knowledge In A Real-World Context

Your corporate learners are not able to retain their newfound skills without regular practice. You should, therefore, provide them with opportunities to apply their skills in real-life situations. For instance, group collaboration activities give them the power to work together to achieve a common goal, just as they would in the workplace. And serious games allow them to advance levels and earn badges while navigating real-world challenges.


Since corporate learners usually have different characteristics, eLearning professionals should use different formats and media when delivering information. Online training courses should also provide feedback to corporate learners after every online training activity to help them identify their weaknesses and how to correct them. Waiting until the end of the online training course to intervene, when the incorrect procedures and ideas have already been committed to memory, may be too late.

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