Using the AIDA Model to get ‘buy in’

We meet a lot of eLearning developers when we’re on the road delivering Articulate training. One of the common concerns a lot of these developers have is how to make their content look good and make sense.

Most of us are not graphic designers. I myself started my career as a primary school teacher. However when creating online courses we need to know how to make things looks good. We know that we process visuals nearly 60,000 times faster than we process text. Therefore should we look to other disciplines and how they use certain models to hook and engage the audience?

AIDA model is a traditional communication model used in advertising. AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.  Advertisers use this model to get people to buy-in to a product or service  Most eLearning designers are not trying to get our audience to buy something but we are trying to get them to ‘buy-in’ to what we have to say. So shouldn’t it make sense that we look at incorporating or thinking about models such as AIDA to get our users attention. Let’s look at what AIDA is and how to use it with eLearning.

  • Attention – The attention portion of the message occurs at the beginning and is designed to give users a reason to take notice. Presenting a shocking fact or statistic that identifies a problem which can be solved by the product or service is one common method of gaining attention. Other methods can include asking a thought-provoking question or using the element of surprise. The purpose is to give the users a reason for wanting to learn more.
  • Interest – Once you’ve gained the their attention, the next step is to maintain interest and to keep the recipients engaged. Explain the problem you’ve identified in the attention step is adversely affecting how they work. A demonstration or illustration can help the users to further identify with the problem and want to actively seek possible solutions. By personalising the problem, you’re making it hit closer to home
  • Desire – In the desire stage, your objective is to show the users how to solve their problem.  For a compliance course demonstrate the procedure or process to follow to ensure the meet the organisations standards or if it is product or service explain the benefits and demonstrate how the benefits fulfill the need.
  • Action – Now that you’ve created the desire about the compliance issue/product/service, the final step is to persuade the users to take immediate action.

In his books, Michael Allen notes that our eLearning courses should have the 3Ms:

  • Memorable
  • Meaningful
  • Motivating

For me this ties in well with the AIDA model. It also relates to changing the way we think about presenting our content in our courses. It took me a long time to get rid of my PowerPoint baggage and my love affair with bullet points, layout, etc.  I pity people who had to take some of my early attempts! Now my focus is on visuals and creating an engaging user experiences rather than just regurgitating content on a screen

AIDA works for me. It forces me to think outside the box and pushes the realms of what I can do.  In the eLearning world we need to get our message across efficiently and effectively. Using techniques like AIDA can help get closer to the Holy Grail…..elearning courses that are engaging and worthwhile!

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