PIDP 3250 – ARCS Motivation Model

What makes a learner eager and willing to sit through a class? How do you keep the learner interested? I am certain we all know the challenge of stimulating and sustaining learner motivation and the difficulty of finding reliable and valid methods for motivating learners. One approach that we may use to meet this challenge is using the ARCS Model of Motivational Design. So what is it? Keller’s ARCS Model of Motivational Design provides strategies to make instruction more appealing. According to John Keller’s ARCS model of motivational design, there are four steps for promoting and sustaining motivation in the learning process. These four categories represent sets of conditions that are necessary for a person to be fully motivated,
A- Attention
R- Relevance
C- Confidence
S- Satisfaction

Keller (2006) writes, ‘motivational design is concerned with connecting instruction to the goals of learners, providing stimulation and appropriate levels of challenge, and influencing how the learners will feel following successful goal accomplishment, or even following failure.”

A is for Attention – You need to grab a student’s attention. You can use tactics such as active participation and humor. It is essential that the strategies and tactics used support the instructional goals. Another tactic that can be used is variation. I learnt that I should not present the content the same way every time. I should mix it up with a little video, a little animation, a little text to keep the students interest and hold their attention.

R is for Relevance – Establish relevance in order to increase a student’s motivation. Motivation is lost if the content has no apparent value to the learner. Reflecting on this I realize I should be asking myself, “How is this content relevant to my learners and their goals? What’s in it for them?” It is important to use case studies or examples that the student can connect to. One way to do this is to relate instructional content to the learners’ future job. I appreciate that when content is relevant to the learner’s needs, they’ll be motivated to complete the activities.

C is more Confidence. It is my duty to help students understand their chances for success. Often students have low confidence because they have very little understanding of what is expected of them. By making the objectives clear and providing examples of acceptable achievements, it is easier to build confidence. If they feel they cannot meet the course objective their motivation will decrease. I understand that in order for the students to have confidence they need to know what is expected of them.

S is for satisfaction. In order to sustain motivation, the fourth condition of motivation required is -satisfaction Learning must be rewarding and satisfying, and students should walk away with a sense of accomplishment. It means that students receive recognition and evidence of success that support their intrinsic feelings of satisfaction

I think this is a great theory to motivate students. I think Keller (2006) touches on key points on how grabbing a student’s attention is the critical start to this theory, as it is only when a student pays attention that they can become engaged. Without engagement, true motivation cannot exist. I have seen firsthand in my own class how (as Keller describes) creating curiosity, challenging student’s thinking and mixing up the delivery methods are successful to a student’s learning and motivation.
I agree with his theory and think the acronym ARCS is very effective. I like that the model contains strategies that connect to instructional goals, which can help an instructor stimulate or maintain each motivational element, generating interest and motivation. By attending to the attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction of the students, that influence motivation, I can create a lesson that is aligned to a learner’s needs and keeps them focused and engaged.


John Keller’s ARCS Model of Motivational Design. (2010). Instructional or Learning Design. Retrieved June 16, 2014, from

Keller, J. M. (2006). What is motivational design. Retrieved from


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