By Roy Saunderson, Chief Learning Officer, Rideau’s Recognition Management Institute
It’s true: People aren’t always motivated to learn.
Our challenge each day is to make learning and our instructional materials and content as meaningful as possible for many people in the workplace. Yes, a tall order, but one that has
rewarding benefits when we are successful.
Earlier research by John Keller highlights his ARCS Model of Motivational Design as a system for improving the motivational appeal of instructor behavior and material, along with the design of lessons and courses (“Development and Use of the ARCS Model of Motivational Design,” Journal of Instructional Development,10(3), 2-10; 1987). ARCS represents four attributes of Attention, Relevance, Confidence,and Satisfactionas a framework for increasing learner motivation.
Let’s take a look at these four principles and their implications in our design and delivery of training and learning concepts.
Keller’s focus on Attention has two broad ways to pique learners’ interest, namely Perceptual Arousal or Inquiry Arousal.
With Perceptual Arousal, the goal is to use novel and surprising experiences to grab learners’ attention through active participation, role-playing, and as many ways to get learners engaged with the material as possible. We all have tried different delivery methods to keep learners actively involved through short lectures, video, and mini-presentations.
Delivery needs to include methods such as humor and methods in line with various individual learning styles to help connect. Sometimes you have to bring in some conflict just to challenge past ways of thinking.
Inquiry Arousal connects the learner to the instructor and material through the art of asking good, introspective questions or posing problems for learners to solve, e.g., brainstorming activities.
Your content and examples have to be relevant to the life and world of your learners. Don’t just come from your own world experience and perspective. You need to customize the learning content and make it meaningful to those in the program.
Keller suggests six strategies to make learning more meaningful:
All learning should build up a person’s confidence to understand and perform the acquired knowledge and skills. They must feel they can accomplish the learning objectives, or motivation will wane. That’s why spelling out the learning objectives and requirements for success ahead of time is essential.
Learners grow at their own pace and must be able to see their progress in the learning process. That’s why feedback from the instructor and self-evaluation checks are critical as a motivational strategy. In this way, you give control over to learners to gauge how they are doing and make any needed course corrections along the way.
Satisfaction in learning, as Keller outlines, comes from motivation in the value of the learning content—perhaps the act of achieving completion of a course or new skill, as well as being praised and acknowledged for participating. In some cases, finishing a specific learning program is rewarded extrinsically by increased pay through higher career earning opportunities.
A learner needs to know the benefits and applicability of the newly learned knowledge or skill back in the real world to be truly satisfied with a learning program.
We all know effective learning requires subject matter knowledge, good instructional design, and effective delivery of content. But it also requires a keen understanding of the motivational factors needed to help our employees become continuous lifelong learners.
Real learning comes from the inside out.
Roy Saundersonis author of “GIVING the Real Recognition Way” and Chief Learning Officer of Rideau’s Recognition Management Institute, a consulting and training firm specializing in helping companies “get recognition right.” Its focus is on showing leaders how to give real recognition to create positive relationships, better workplaces, and real results. For more information, contact mailto:RoySaunderson@Rideau.com or visit http://www.Rideau.com.