The ARCS model of motivational design is an instructional model used in education. Instructional models are used to facilitate the learning experience of students. The ARCS model provides a step-by-step process of engaging students, building there confidence, and providing a sense of satisfaction during a learning experience.
In this post, we will look at the various aspects of the ARCS model as they are based on the acronym below
Attention is the first step in the ARCS model. The goal at this stage is to help the learner to focus on the lesson. There are several different ways to do this and they include the following.
- Examples such as stories, and or audiovisual.
- Hands-on experience such as experiments, skits, etc
- Incongruity and Conflict which can be through employing cognitive dissonance. For example, making a statement that confuses students could provide a hook to get them to focus on the lesson
- Inquiry involves having students ask questions to pull them into the lesson. The questions they develop rouse their desire to find the answer
None of these approaches are exclusive, which means that they can be used in combination with each other. For example, you could use an example to cause incongruity and or inquiry. The point is that a teacher must find a way to get their students’ attention.
Relevance is about using concepts and ideas the students can connect with to explain whatever new ideas are in the lesson. If students can see how what they are learning connect with their lives they are more inclined to learn it. Below are some ways to bring relevance into a lesson
- Future usefulness means showing the students how what they are learning will help them later. This is not the strongest approach but it provides a platform for developing relevancy.
- Needs matching means helping students to discover that they need to learn a particular skill or idea. When students know they need to learn something they are often motivated to learn it.
- Modeling means being an example for the students. By demonstrating the new skill, student have something that they can imitate. This relates well with social learning theory.
- Choice is highly motivating for many students. Through empowering students, there is often an increase in making learning relevant.
Developing confidence is about providing students with opportunities to succeed. What this means for the teacher is to provide assessment and activities that are stimulating but not impossible to complete.
A general rule of thumb is that students should be a able to successful complete 60-70% of a new skill on the first try. This allows them to have some degree of success while still indicating where they need to improve.
Satisfaction is closely related to confidence. With satisfaction, you provide the students with authentic situation in which to use their newly acquire skills. This implies the use of authentic assessments. However, authentic assessment requires feedback in order for the student to understand their growth opportunities.
The ARCS model provides teachers with an easy to follow template for developing clear instruction. The foundational principles in this model are useful for anyone who is looking for a way to vary their teaching practices.
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