Motivating online students

Keller’s ARCS model of motivation

Attention
Relevance
Confidence
Satisfaction

How can I offer all these elements in an online course?

Attention: make sure the activities are engaging and interesting, perhaps even a bit controversial

Relevance: meanwhile, being completely relevant to the subject of study and the context in which they are studying – which varies depending on the student – the context of a full-time undergraduate is different from that of a work-based learner on a short professional development course.

Confidence: making absolutely clear the objectives and activities in the course so that the student knows exactly what is expected of them. Good design and navigation helps here too. It is also the job of the e-moderator to be supportive of learners.

Satisfaction: provide a certificate at the end of the course which is perceived as worthwhile. Provide positive and motivational feedback from the e-moderator. In a self-study multimedia course it might be achieved via short formative quizzes reassuring the student of their learning.