As an Instructional Designer, motivating learners is an important consideration because in reality learners are not always motivated to learn. They are busy, have other things to do, don’t see the course/session as being important or have had a bad learning experience in the past. We use Dr. John Keller’s motivational design model known as ARCS.
The ARCS model comprises 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. It has also been validated in studies across different education levels.
The four categories of motivation variables consist of sub-categories along with process questions to consider when designing:
Attention = Capturing the interest of learners, stimulating their curiosity to learn.
- Perceptual Arousal: What can I do to capture their interest?
- Inquiry Arousal: How can I stimulate an attitude of inquiry?
- Variability: How can I maintain their attention?
Relevance = Meeting the personal needs/goals of the learner to affect a positive attitude.
- Goal Orientation: How can I best meet my learner’s needs? (Do I know their needs?)
- Motive Matching: How and when can I provide my learners with appropriate choices, responsibilities and influences?
- Familiarity: How can I tie the instruction to the learners’ experience?
Confidence = Helping the learners believe/feel that they will succeed and control their success.
- Learning Requirements: How can I assist in building a positive expectation for success?
- Success Opportunities: How will the learning experience support or enhance the learners’ beliefs in their competence?
- Personal Control: How will learners clearly know their success is based upon their efforts and abilities?
Satisfaction = Reinforcing accomplishment with rewards (internal and external).
- Natural Consequences: How can I provide meaningful opportunities for learners to use their newly acquired knowledge/skill?
- Positive Consequences: What will provide reinforcement to the learners’ successes?
- Equity: How can I assist the learners in anchoring a positive feeling about their accomplishments?
The following link is to a YouTube video where Dr. Keller discusses the ARCS Model, some background in its development and the addition of volition to the model. ARCS: A Conversation with John Keller
Apart from the motivational aspects of the model, 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.