Relevance, a key component of motivation

Keller posited,  motivation to learn is highest when four components are present and sustained: attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction (ARCS). When developing instruction, clearly state how the instructional materials the learners will use and the learning activities the learner will complete relate to achieving the learning objectives–and if possible, how the materials and activities relate to the learners’ lives, experiences, or jobs. Establishing the relevance to the learner will make the learning  meaningful and will promote motivation to learn.

John Keller’s paper on his ARCS model

Quality Matters Internal Online Course Review #Done

Late last night, I finished a QM internal online course review. One thing I have noticed that instructors miss is providing learners with detailed navigational instructions for their online course.  Instructors should be careful to tell learners how to locate content, learning activities, assignments, announcements, assessments, and other course material. Not all learners have taken an online course and not all online courses are arranged the same way. Providing learners with navigational instructions reduces cognitive load as the learner will not expend cognitive resources to figure out where to find things– cognitive resources may be appropriately applied to learning the content.

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives

I am in the process of creating two curriculum outlines. Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives with corresponding action verbs is a constant companion while I draft terminal performance objectives and enabling objectives from the task analyses. Use of the hierarchical list of educational objectives–Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation– and verbs facilitates the development of objectives that are appropriately sequenced– from LOTS (lower order thinking skills) to HOTS (higher order thinking skills)– and aligned with instructional materials, learning activities, and assessment items.

Instructional Designer as Investigator

Problems arise–learners do not meet learning objectives, performance goals are not attained, learners become frustrated–when instruction is created without a thorough analysis. When this happens the instructional designer must put on his or her investigator hat and locate the holes in the content and/or instructional materials. Instructional and training programs that begin with a thorough analysis produce efficient, effective, extraordinary results the first time around.


I’m learning two more Learning Management Systems–  Blackboard and Canvas. I will add these to  LMSs in my toolkit: Sakai and Jenzabar e-Racer.

What is your favorite LMS and why is it your favorite?

Quality Matters Review

I’m working on an informal Quality Matters review for a criminal justice course. QM reviews give me the opportunity to keep my instructional design and online course development skills sharp while assisting a peer with his or her online course development.


This is the official relaunch of Extraordinary! by Design Instructional Design and Performance Improvement.