What was most surprising for me is that I am the classic adult learner, meaning a lot of the attributes described in the theories in our course literature on adult learners feels like someone is writing directly about me. “These theories emphasize self-direction, flexibility, and the process of learning, rather than the content. They are learner-centered and recognize the importance of a customized approach to learning. They also focus on the fact that adults are different from children. Adults have experience and are self-directed and independent” (Cercone, 2008).
I am very self-directed. I am getting this master’s degree for the sole purpose of bridging the gap at our organization (USC Shoah Foundation, http://sfi.usc.edu) between educators who need to build online courses and the technologists that implement those requirements. My goal is to help the educators tune their lessons and technical requirements to our secondary education and adult audiences while helping my technical team implement correctly the meaning of the educator’s requirements.
I find the ARCS model very helpful in connecting learning theories, learning strategies, educational technology and motivation together when creating online courses for both secondary students and adults. “The ARCS model of motivational design (Keller, 1987a, 1987b) provides a systematic, seven-step approach (Keller, 1997) to designing motivational tactics into instruction. It incorporates needs assessment based on an analysis of the target audience and existing instructional materials, supports the creation of motivational objectives and measures based on an analysis of the motivational characteristics of the learners, provides guidance for creating and selecting motivational tactics, and follows a process that integrates well with instructional design and development. The analysis of motivational needs and corresponding selection of tactics are based on four dimensions of motivation. These dimensions were derived from a synthesis of research on human motivation and are known as attention (A), relevance (R), confidence (C), and satisfaction (S), or ARCS. Numerous reports and studies have described and confirmed the validity of this model” (Keller, 1999).
I find for keeping attention, bringing in different techniques from various learning strategies (not styles) we have learned helpful. Elaboration, taking information and embellishing it, comprehension monitoring, having the student stop periodically and self-evaluate if they are understanding the new lessons, and finally mnemonics, which make it easier to learn important lists. (Ormrod, video file, retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu).
I find for giving relevance and confidence to the student, intrinsic motivation techniques, like constant feedback to make sure the learner feels they understand the new lessons, are important for both secondary education and adult learners. Also, extrinsic techniques, like grades. Extrinsic techniques however are more important to secondary education learners than adult learners. (Ormrod, Schunk and Gredler, 2009).
I find for providing satisfaction to the student, connectivism through social networks and educational technology (Siemens, 2005) provide confidence as well as the student feeling they are gaining a “High applicability of acquired skills” (Keller, 1999).
At the USC Shoah Foundation we create hundreds of online lessons for tolerance education and anti-bullying in secondary education and highly self-directed research systems for higher education and researchers. I plan on using the ARCS model quite a bit to help our education team supply the best online activities and research systems possible.
Cercone, K. (2008). Characteristics of adult learners with implications for online learning design. AACE Journal, 16(2), 137–159. Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Reader.ViewAbstract&paper_id=24286
USC Shoah Foundation – http://sfi.usc.edu
Keller, J. M. (1999). Using the ARCS motivational process in computer-based instruction and distance education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning (78).
Keller, J. M. “Strategies for Stimulating the Motivation to Learn.” Performance and Instruction, 1987a, 26 (8), 1–7.
Keller, J. M. “The Systematic Process of Motivational Design.” Performance and Instruction, 1987b, 26 (9), 1–8.
Keller, J. M. “Motivational Design and Multimedia: Beyond the Novelty Effect.” Strategic Human Resource Development Review, 1997, 1 (1), 188–203.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Learning styles and strategies [Video file].
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson. pp. 254-261)
George Siemens, Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, 2005 (http://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm )