Appeal to learners by intrinsically motivating them to complete your educational content!
LinkedIn Learning’s 2019 Workplace Learning Report documented that the second-highest priority of learning and development professionals is to increase learner engagement. Similar to how engaged employees are more productive, more retainable, and lead their organizations to be more successful, engaged learners create a culture of learning that helps individuals as well as the organization as a whole to thrive and manage change. All too often workplace learning is completed because it’s mandatory, without the learners’ desires, individual goals, and even reactions being taken into account. Boring and ineffective training is dangerous to the entire organization, as it wastes learners’ precious time on the job, and does not achieve the intended learning or business objectives.
Appealing to employees’ intrinsic motivation to learn, demonstrated when they complete tasks simply because they want to, may seem like an impossible challenge. However, knowledge and application of adult learning theories can make intrinsic motivation a reality, no matter the subject of the content. One influential theory is the ARCS Model, developed by John Keller. The secret recipe to achieving intrinsic motivation is the expectancy-value theory, which is the concept that people are motivated to learn if they perceive that their needs are satisfied and that they will be successful.
Keller further explains that, "The ARCS model of motivation was developed in response to a desire to find more effective ways of understanding the major influences on the motivation to learn, and for systematic ways of identifying and solving problems with learning motivation."
The ARCS Motivational Design Model is similar to the widely used ADDIE model, and consists of the following four steps:
The name of the ARCS model comes from these four core practices:
Paying attention is a necessary component of learning, and while catching learners’ attention may be a simple task, maintaining it for the duration of the training and awakening their curiosity can be more difficult. Keller suggests the following strategies to sustain learners’ attention:
Keller explains that relevance can come from three sources: the immediate application of the content, the promised future application of the content, or the process in which the content is taught. This third tactic is often overlooked but can transform dull content into meaningful learning experiences. To demonstrate relevancy, Keller proposes the following:
Expectations of success, and conversely, of failure, can often prove to be self-fulfilling prophesies both in the classroom and elsewhere throughout life. Learners tend to feel a higher motivation to complete content when they are presented with moderate but achievable challenges, and have faith that success is attainable. Keller proposes the following methods to build learners’ confidence:
Everyone wants to feel pride in a job well done, and this simple truth extends to the classroom and the workplace. ARCS-based instruction balances extrinsic and intrinsic rewards so that learners experience satisfaction for their own work, and not for receiving a prize or token for mere completion. To encourage intrinsic satisfaction, Keller recommends the following approaches:
Consider a learning experience at your organization, such as an online course or an instructor-led class. How are learners’ attention, sense of relevancy, confidence, and satisfaction taken into account? Audit your learning experience by reflecting on each component of the ARCS model, and look for opportunities for improvement as well as the current strengths. This activity may prove to be especially insightful for topics such as compliance courses, where learner participation is mandatory, so their satisfaction or motivation is rarely considered throughout the design or evaluation process. Engaged learners are not only more productive but also tend to enjoy a higher retention of content, which for some compliance topics can lead to significant impacts on safety and well being, as well as legal and financial matters. When you consider this, can you afford not to consider your learners’ motivation?
Do you want to transform your content into motivational and engaging digital learning experiences? Let’s talk!