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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Effective teaching: Motivating students to learn

A useful model for motivating students is ARCS, which stands for 'Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction.' This was developed by John Keller in 1983, and it's been used and validated by teachers and trainers across a wide range of learning environments - from universities to the military.

Here are the basic components of the ARCS model:
  • Attention - Capture learners' attention at the start of the session, and maintain it throughout.

    • Ask learners questions to make them think about why they should learn the skill.

    • Use role-playing or other activities to show the importance of learning the skill.

    • Use specific examples, and ask learners to offer their own solutions, to stimulate their interest further.

  • Relevance - Explain to learners how important the lesson is, and how it could benefit them.

    • Describe the benefits.

    • Relate the lesson to their current jobs and experiences. The learning materials, assignments, and projects should be applicable to their work, and to specific situations they face in their daily jobs.

    • Develop a connection between learning the skill and developing their careers. Discuss issues like increased satisfaction, better job, and increased patient satisfaction.

  • Confidence - Tell learners what is expected of them.

    • Set clear objectives for the session, and check in regularly with learners to make sure they're not falling behind.

    • Design projects and lessons so that learners experience small successes along the way, before they completely master the skill.

    • Give learners enough time to practice skills, so that they'll be successful when they apply these skills to the job.

    • Make sure you're teaching at the right level. Learners can lack motivation if something is too difficult - or too easy.

    • Allow learners to have input into their learning by helping them create their own learning goals.

  • Satisfaction - Reinforce successes and motivation.

    • Give lots of feedback. Make sure it's specific, timely, and relates to how learners can put the skill into practice on the job.

    • Recognize learners' successes. Appreciate often, and find ways to reward achievements.

    • Look at ways to increase motivation. Find out what learners are interested in and passionate about. And find ways to get learners to motivate one another as well.

    Source: MindTools

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