Motivating & Involving Learners – Part 2

In adult learning, learners aren’t necessarily showing up because they can’t wait to take the course.  It may be part of their educational track, or it may be necessary to advance to a new position, or even required to maintain their current job.  And experience may have taught them not to have great expectations for the training.  But continuing in this series, I’m going to help you develop training that learners will truly feel good about, while gaining the knowledge and skills they need.

In my last post I discussed keeping your learners’ attention, the A in the ARCS motivational model for training.

This time let’s take a look at R in ARCS = Relevance.

Again, it’s obvious that you need to keep your training relevant to the learner.  But how?

“What’s in it for me?”  I’m sure you’ve heard this common phrase as advice when developing training.  And this is exactly what you need to consider from your learners’ perspective, and then build into your training.

  • Explain the purpose of the content early – begin by making the case for why the training is important to the learner; highlight areas of interest in your agenda
  • Present goals – tell learners what they’ll be able to do or understand that they didn’t before
  • Ask learners to select goals for themselves – have learner’s tell the group what they want to get from the training; confirm what things will be included, and be sure to clarify the purpose of your class if they have a goal that you will not address
  • Throughout training, point out immediate and future usefulness – mention when a particular item relates to something they are currently experiencing, or will soon
  • Connect the content with their current experience and knowledge – invite learners to relate an experience where the knowledge would have, or did, come in handy

Making training relevant requires that you know your audience.  Do your homework before your class begins.  If you’re in a business environment, know what roles the learners are in, or working towards, and how the knowledge or skill will impact that role.

Starting your class with a discussion of what their own goals are for training will help you point out those things as the content is covered to continuously remind learners of the relevance.  It is also a great way to get learners comfortable participating in group discussions, which you’ll hopefully include as a way to hold their Attention (the A in ARCS).

We’re all motivated by “what’s in it for me.”  Use that natural human tendency to your advantage in making your training clearly Relevant!

Next time – the C of the ARCS model = Confidence.

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