Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gagné’s 9 Events of Instruction

The topic for today is Gagné’s 9 Events of instruction. I spoke briefly about Gagné in a previous post, and today I’d like to get a little more into detail. I mentioned before that the 9 Events are:

1) Gain Attention
2) Inform Learners of their objectives
3) Stimulate and Recall Prior Learning
4) Present the content
5) Provide “Learning” guidance
6) Practice
7) Provide Feedback
8) Assess Performance
9) Provide Retention and Transfer to the job

Today I’m going to briefly discuss what happens during each event, then I’ll provide an example.

Event 1: Gain Attention.

The object of the first event is to get learners interested in the topic. Typically this can be done by showing them a finished example of what they will learn in the course, talking about the benefits of the topic at hand, or telling an interesting story.

Event 2:
Inform Learners of Their Objectives

This is where you tell the learners what they will get out of the training session. A lot of trainers simply list out the Learning Objectives they created for the course. Sometimes in eLearning, objectives are presented contextually in a scenario.

Event 3: Stimulate and Recall Prior Learning

When you design training, you think about how to get learners to make connections with prior knowledge. This is the time to implement that plan. Start your learners off running by activating or creating mental models.

Event 4: Present the Content

Present the information. There are a number of ways this can be done, which is a topic for a future blog.

Event 5: Provide Learning Guidance

During, or after content presentation, help learners transfer information into long-term memory by providing worked examples, case studies, analogies, job aids, etc.

Event 6: Practice

Have learners actually practice what they are learning. You are having them use what they are learning as a way to not only help them remember what they are learning, but also to check for their understanding of the content.

Event 7: Provide Feedback

Provide immediate feedback to help guide learners to correct outcomes.

Event 8: Elicit Performance

Check the learners grasp on the content. This is where they perform the task on their own, and feedback is not given until they are finished. Ideally the performance elicited mirrors what they will do on the job. This goes back to Thorndike’s Theory of Identical Elements, which basically states that the closer training is to reality, the better the likelihood of the training transferring to the job.

Event 9: Provide Retention and Transfer to the Job

Research supports the belief that most training fails because of what happens AFTER training. That is, when there is no support on the job, learners are not likely to implement what they were trained to do. To combat this, good instructional design includes an implementation plan. Have a discussion with managers about how the training can be applied. Managers should mirror how they want their employees to behave. This is a really big topic which I can expand on more in the future.


For this example I will continue to use the same scenario I used in my post on Blooms Taxonomy. Recall that my learning objective was to have learners use Microsoft Word shapes to create graphics. Assume that learners have already been trained to create basic shapes, now they will be taught to put them together to create graphics.


Instructional Activities

Learner Activities

Event 1: Gain Attention

Tell a story about a time when I was asked to create a graphic for a presentation and all I had was Microsoft Word. Show learners the results of what was

Learners listen to the story and are interested. They observe the final results and are motivated to gain these skills

Event 2: Inform Learners of Learning Objectives

List Learning Objective on flip chart.

Learners listen to the objective and understand what they will be able to do by the end of this training session.

Event 3: Stimulate & Recall Prior Knowledge

Discuss creating basic shapes.

Learners discuss creating basic shapes with the instructor and each other. They also recall how each shape was created and edited.

Event 4: Present New Content

Walk learners through the process of stacking shapes to create graphics.

Use Scaffolding (provide guidance as needed) and Fading (slowly stop providing guidance) until the learners are comfortable creating graphics.

Learners practice creating graphics and adapt as guidance is provided.

Learners become more adept at creating graphics on their own.

Event 5: Provide Guidance

Provide quick tips and best practices for creating graphics.

Learners listen to, and apply the tips and best practices.

Event 6: Practice

Provide a scenario that learners might encounter on the job.

Have Learners work in teams to create the following graphic:

“You need a graphic to provide an overview of xxx project. Use Microsoft Word to create an appealing graphic.” (Of course you will want to be more elaborate)

Learners work in teams to create the graphic.

Event 7: Provide Feedback

Walk around the room and provide assistance and feedback as necessary

Learners listen to feedback and make adjustments to their projects.

Event 8: Elicit Performance

At the end of the class, provide a new scenario asking learners to create a graphic (on their own).

Provide feedback once they are finished.

Learners use Microsoft Word to create a graphic based on the scenario.

Event 9: Provide Retention and Transfer to the Job

Provide a job aid for when learners return to their jobs.

Work with supervisors to ensure learners will use their new skills several times in the next few weeks.

Learners take the job aid with them for future use.

Learners are able to practice what they learned in training, and commit the content to long-term memory.

This is a general example of how you could use Gagné’s 9 Events of Instruction. Next time I will discuss Keller's ARCS model.

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