John Keller, the founder of ARCS Model of Motivational Design Theories has developed the model to help teachers engage students in learning, sustaining and promoting their learning process.

It is made up of four parts, including;


Attention can be sustained in two ways;

Perceptual arousal – gained by surprise or disbelief

Inquiry arousal – stimulated by challenging problems

  • Active participation

Engaging learners through games, role-plays or other types of hands-on practice.

  • Variety

Engaging learners through variety of methods and materials such as videos, short lectures and mini-discussion groups.

  • Use of humour

Gaining interest through small use of humour (too much is distracting).

  • Conflict

Presenting statements that may contradict what the learner already knows or believes. This will engage learners to want to learn more about the topic.

  • Real world examples

Learners believing that their newly acquired knowledge has a practical application in real life to attract their attention and interest them in further learning.



  • Link to previous experience

Linking new learning to learner’s previous experience as we learn best by building upon present knowledge and skills.

  • Perceived present worth

Linking the subject matter to how it will benefit the learners present day.

  • Perceived future usefulness

Linking the subject matter to how it will benefit the learner’s future.

  • Modelling

Presenting learners with an example of a model who has successfully applied this knowledge (speakers, teachers, fellow students) to motivate them to believe they too can be successful.

  • Choice

Giving learners the choice to decide on the specific learning methods or media that they might find most effective.



  • Facilitate self-growth

Encouraging learners to take small steps to recognise their learning progression. This gives them confidence to believe in themselves.

  • Communicate objectives and prerequisites

Allowing learners to understand, in advance, what they are to achieve. This allows them to set goals and plan out their learning journey to best achieve results.

  • Provide feedback

Providing information to allow learners to understand where they are at in their learning process and what is required of them to succeed.

  • Give learners control

Giving learners a sense of independence to allow them to facilitate their own learning journey.



  • Praise or rewards

Acknowledging success in the learner to increase their sense of satisfaction and allow them to recognise their efforts and sense of achievement.

  • Immediate application

Encouraging learners to apply their newly acquired knowledge in real world settings. It will bring satisfaction and a sense of time, money and effort well spent.


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