Sunday, September 27, 2009

Instructional Designs

In reviewing 2 different models of instruction, I chose the ARCS Model of Motivational Design (Keller) and Gagnes’s Conditions of Learning Theory. I seemed to gravitate to the ARCS model upon quickly reviewing the other models for this assignment. I like the simplicity of its presentation, but really appreciated its foundation of promoting an increase in the student’s motivation. This model focuses on getting the learners attention by:
Attention: which includes active participation, variability, humor, incongruity, specific examples and inquiry.
Relevance: which include experience, present worth, future usefulness, needs matching, modeling and choice.
Confidence: provide objectives, allow for success growth in learners, feedback, and learner control.
Satisfaction: learning to be rewarding, insuring skills are useful to learner, providing feedback and reinforcement, and no over-rewarding easy tasks.
This model provides the intrinsic kind of motivation that not only sustains learning, but can make the learner feel and celebrate the joys of his or hers accomplishments. The notion of motivation in learning reminds us of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs where he talks about humans needs and how those needs influence human behavior. If you examine his theory you realize that the goal in learning could be related in fulfilling any unsatisfied needs, and the ARCS model seems to have to capability to allow a direction of personal learning though motivation.
The Gagne’s Model of Learning on the other hand gives us a model based on acquiring skills which may occur at different levels, such as verbal information, intellectual skills, cognitive strategies, motor skills and attitudes, each type requiring different types of instruction. Gagne’s model includes a nine step process call the events of instruction. This model appears more of a training program for learning information that needs to be shared among a group of individuals striving to achieve a common goal. I have never really been a big fan of a behavioral model of learning and this model seems to more of an intellectual mental processing model rather than an easier applied model for learning.
As far as designing a mode of learning in my classroom, I don’t think you can affectively do this without having some opportunity in having a better understanding of what kind of students you have so you can begin to plot your strategy in teaching your class. Again, I seem to favor the ARCS model so I would want to start to identify ways of motivating and stimulating their motivation. I usually break my students up in small groups early in the course and present discussions that allow them to express their feelings and ideas which gives me the opportunity in adjusting my presentation to help meet the characteristics of the class. Also, inquiry is not only important between student and instructor, but also between student and student. In the ARCS model, the most important aspect of this model is keeping the learner’s attention and as in many questions that involve motivation and learning, what if a student lacks motivation and shows no desire to learn, how much of that responsibility should we as instructors assume and what should our strategy be then?
Stay tuned more to come.


  1. Sal, I am an educator at Los Medanos College and I am always looking for new ways to engage my students. Your blog looks interesting. I wonder how your suggestions will work in freshman composition which is in a classroom setting with well defined educational parameters. By the way, if you are The Sal Buffo who took me to Pittsburg High's Juinor Prom (it was yours, I think), then you will remember Lynne Potter.

  2. Small world, yes it is the same Sal Buffo.How are you Lynne? Hard to believe you found this blog and made the connection. Happy to hear your teaching at Los Medanos, I teach as well at Yavapai College in Arizona, teach various psychology courses. This blog was created for a class I'm taking with other instructors learning more affective ways of connecting with our students through using blogs, wiki's, etc. Especially comes in handy with the online courses I teach. As for your question, the ARCS model should work really well for your classes. Lots of information on he web about it. My email at the college is Let me know how your doing. :)