It was in 1965, Robert Gagné published ‘The Conditions of Learning’, which identified the mental conditions for learning.
His work popularly called as Gagne’s assumptions, lists down nine events of instructions in his model.
eLearning designers can leverage Gagne’s Nine Events Of Instruction model to produce highly engaging and effective elearning modules.
In this blog, let’s see what are the nine events of instructions in his model as well how to apply it to elearning.
1.Gaining the attention of the learners.
2.Informing learners of the objective
3.Stimulating recall of prior knowledge
4.Presenting the content
5.Providing “Learning guidance”
9.Enhancing retention & Transfer
This instruction model finds wide application in various learning strategies and elearning is one such very prominent one.
In the domain of elearning too, you can see the instructional designers choosing the model of Gagne’s 9 events very frequently.
In this blog, let’s see how to apply the Gagne’s 9 events of instruction model in elearning .
1. Gaining the attention of the learners.
So, let us begin with a story……. You might have heard and read this starting sentence in various training sessions in both offline and online modes.
We have already discussed in our previous blogs about the power of a good story in catching the learners attention.
Instructional designers can choose this approach of starting with a good story to catch the learners attention. While this is one such strategy, I would also recommend to try various other tried and tested approaches like the following.
1. Use thought-provoking sentences to force learners to pay attention.
For example, for a sales training module the slide can display a text stating- ‘ Are you using these sales strategies?, if not you are killing your sales ‘
2.Start with interactions and smaller activities
I found this strategy very appealing to grab the learners attention. The sales training module started with an activity itself where the module required some user inputs. Apart from the regular interactions like entering the name, the module contained a small scale which allowed to rate me as a salesperson ranging from 1-10.
3. Pose a question to the learners.
Ensure that the question is a strong one to make the learners think. The questions should have a direction aligned to the learning objectives of the modules.
While the humans are natural beings with great emotional connect, i am not a big fan of this method to gain the attention of the learners as it doesn’t work for all the topics. Organisations as part of the CSR ( Corporate Social Responsibility )initiatives etc can effectively try this to gain the attention of the learners.
5.Present a problem to the learners:
Let’s again start with building interactivity and engagement by presenting to the learners a problem to solve. This can be a situation where the learner needs to suggest a solution.
2. Informing learners of the objective
This is very important in the learning cycle to Inform the learners about the objectives or outcomes to help them understand what they are to learn during the course. This initiates the process of internal expectations in the learners .
1.Present the objectives and goals in the learning modules. I would suggest not to make it lengthy and instead write it as bulleted points.
2.Inform the learners about the assessments in the learning modules and specify evaluation methodology and criteria etc.
3.Frame the learning objectives as a challenge- While presenting the learning objectives, you can use and present it as a challenge to the learners which they should achieve .
The key point here is to ensure that the learners should understand what is in it for them in the learning module.
A small tip which you can try – In some of the elearning modules, I have seen a small video walkthrough which explains all these with a voice-over narration. The video quickly tells you the different objectives
3.Stimulating recall of prior knowledge
Learners especially the adult learners, tries to ,retain concepts and new information better if the concepts are related to something they already knows.
In this way, they can make the connection to their personal experiences and the learning will be more meaningful.
Methods for stimulating recall include:
Ask questions about previous experiences.
Quizzing them on prior knowledge
Presenting a scenario or a problem and asking them to resolve it.
4. Present the content
This is the most important part in instructional design where you plan to effectively deliver the learning content.
There are various strategies that are effectively used here to present the content. But here are some proven ways to ensure that you are presenting the content in an effective manner.
Organize and chunk content- This can ensure that there is no information overload for the learners. But ensure that you chunk the content meaningfully.
Include interactivity: The present-day eLearning modules gives various options to create interactivity like
Gamification, game-based learning etc.
Simulation-based learning approach etc..
5. Providing “Learning guidance”
It is equally important now to make the learners understand how to learn.
There should be clear instructions to support your learners on two levels: by helping them understand the concepts and by providing them with clear instructions on how to complete activities and advance in the course.
Without proper guidance, the learners might get confused and can feel directionless.
Instructional designers usually follow some strategies here like
Give them hints and clues: When there are certain difficult tasks or challenges in the learning modules, you can include some hints and clues which will help the learners to achieve the challenges.
Make sure that you don’t include this for even the smallest and easiest tasks.
Using Instructions on elearning: Instructions are always a helpful medium to guide the learners everytime. It helps the learners by giving the required guidance.
For example, when there is an assessment (drag and drop) with rectangle boxes on both the sides of the screen.
An on screen texts can give clear instructions like ‘ Drag your choices to the boxes on the right and then click the finish button.’
Such clear instructions leaves no room for ambiguity and can guide the learners.
You can also use some new strategies like including the chat options etc.
Once the learning content are delivered to the target audience, it is very important now to ensure that the learners get the opportunity to practice it or apply it.
Instructional designers can use effective strategies here like using simulations for elearning. Elearning simulations can effectively help the learners to practice the concepts in a controlled and computer-simulated environment.
To know more about elearning simulations, you can read my blog here.
Elearning scenarios- Elearning scenarios are effective ways of creating engagement among the learners , Elearning scenarios can effectively choose some real-life situations and present it as a problem or challenge before the learner.
This gives the users the options to test their comprehension on the topic by solving the challenges.
I always feel that one of the strong pillars of strength for an effective learning module is the ability to give the proper feedback to the learners. Elearning modules can deliver immediate and personalized feedback to the learner . The modern elearning includes a various set of detailed assessments that can help in giving proper feedback to the individual learners.
An instructional designer can design the modules for ensuring proper feedbacks like
1. Using branching scenarios – branching scenarios are designed to flow according to the user inputs and choices. Branching scenarios give proper feedback as it helps the learners to see the consequence of his choices and decisions.
2. When the learner makes a wrong choice, display the correct answer and don’t make the learners leave guessing.
3. Certain elearning modules don’t give out the correct answers directly even after you make the first choice as wrong. The module might show a clue which the learner can use to try the assessments or task once again.
The present-day elearning module helps the organisation to track the users learning progress.
The instructional design process should not include any new information neither any hints or clues in the assessment process as the aim of every elearning assessments is to test the learners understanding of what the learner has learned through the learning module.
9. Enhancing retention & Transfer
Once the learners have mastered the skills of the learning topics, it becomes important to make sure that the learners retain the content of memory for long. The learners should be able to retain and recollect the information when they are on the job.
Therefore some methods or tips which can serve this purpose are
For example, implementing strategies like BYOD policies and mobile learning etc allows the learners to use their own mobile devices for quickly assessing the learning content The learners can refer to the learning content quickly on their devices.
Microlearning has further enabled the developers to make the learning content to small chunks of useful information thereby reducing the information overload on the learners. Microlearning allows the organizations to reinforce the learning from time to time.
Small animated videos, flashcards, infographics etc can be used to ensure the reinforcement of learning.
This is a very quick overview to on Gagné’s9 Events Of Instruction model and how to apply them on eLearning.