Summary: According to John Keller’s ARCS Model of Motivational Design Theories, there are four steps for promoting and sustaining motivation in the learning process: Attention, Relevance, Confidence, Satisfaction (ARCS).
Originator: John Keller
Key terms: Attention, Relevance, Confidence, Satisfaction (ARCS)
ARCS Model of Motivational Design (Keller)
- Keller attention can be gained in two ways: (1) Perceptual arousal – uses surprise or uncertainly to gain interest. Uses novel, surprising, incongruous, and uncertain events; or (2) Inquiry arousal – stimulates curiosity by posing challenging questions or problems to be solved.
- Methods for grabbing the learners’ attention include the use of:
- Active participation -Adopt strategies such as games, roleplay or other hands-on methods to get learners involved with the material or subject matter.
- Variability – To better reinforce materials and account for individual differences in learning styles, use a variety of methods in presenting material (e.g. use of videos, short lectures, mini-discussion groups).
- Humor -Maintain interest by use a small amount of humor (but not too much to be distracting)
- Incongruity and Conflict – A devil’s advocate approach in which statements are posed that go against a learner’s past experiences.
- Specific examples – Use a visual stimuli, story, or biography.
- Inquiry – Pose questions or problems for the learners to solve, e.g. brainstorming activities.
- Establish relevance in order to increase a learner’s motivation. To do this, use concrete language and examples with which the learners are familiar. Six major strategies described by Keller include:
- Experience – Tell the learners how the new learning will use their existing skills. We best learn by building upon our preset knowledge or skills.
- Present Worth – What will the subject matter do for me today?
- Future Usefulness – What will the subject matter do for me tomorrow?
- Needs Matching – Take advantage of the dynamics of achievement, risk taking, power, and affiliation.
- Modeling – First of all, “be what you want them to do!” Other strategies include guest speakers, videos, and having the learners who finish their work first to serve as tutors.
- Choice – Allow the learners to use different methods to pursue their work or allowing s choice in how they organize it.
- Help students understand their likelihood for success. If they feel they cannot meet the objectives or that the cost (time or effort) is too high, their motivation will decrease.
- Provide objectives and prerequisites – Help students estimate the probability of success by presenting performance requirements and evaluation criteria. Ensure the learners are aware of performance requirements and evaluative criteria.
- Allow for success that is meaningful.
- Grow the Learners – Allow for small steps of growth during the learning process.
- Feedback – Provide feedback and support internal attributions for success.
- Learner Control – Learners should feel some degree of control over their learning and assessment. They should believe that their success is a direct result of the amount of effort they have put forth.
- Learning must be rewarding or satisfying in some way, whether it is from a sense of achievement, praise from a higher-up, or mere entertainment.
- Make the learner feel as though the skill is useful or beneficial by providing opportunities to use newly acquired knowledge in a real setting.
- Provide feedback and reinforcement. When learners appreciate the results, they will be motivated to learn. Satisfaction is based upon motivation, which can be intrinsic or extrinsic.
- Do not patronize the learner by over-rewarding easy tasks.
For more information, we recommend:
- John Keller’s book: Motivational Design for Learning and Performance: The ARCS Model Approach
. Keller’s book explains in detail the ARCS model. Separate chapters cover each component of the model and offer strategies for promoting each one in learners. Plenty of real-world examples and ready-to-use worksheets. The methods are applied to both traditional and alternative settings, including gifted classes, K12, self-directed learning, and corporate training.
- Keller, J. M. (2009). Motivational design for learning and performance: The ARCS model approach. Springer Science & Business Media.
- Keller, John M. “Development and use of the ARCS model of instructional design.” Journal of instructional development 10, no. 3 (1987): 2-10.