The ARCS motivational design process is a systematic problem solving
approach that requires knowledge of human motivation and progresses
from learner analysis to solution design. More specifically, the process
and identifying the elements of human motivation,
audience characteristics to determine motivational requirements,
characteristics of instructional materials and processes that stimulate
appropriate motivational tactics, and
and evaluating appropriate tactics.
Thus, motivational design includes a systematic process that contains
these steps and results in the preparation of learning environments
that contain tactics, or activities, that have a predictable influence
on the amount and direction of a person’s behavior. Motivation
consists of the amount of effort a person is willing to exert in pursuit
of a goal; hence, motivation has magnitude and direction. Consequently,
motivational design is concerned with connecting instruction to the
goals of learners, providing stimulation and appropriate levels of challenge,
and influencing how the learners will feel following successful goal
accomplishment, or even following failure. Will, for example, the students
want to continue pursuing the same or similar goals?
design, by contrast, is concerned with factors that influence how well
a person will be able to acquire, recall, and use new knowledge and
skills. These are the factors that together with effort, the outcome
of motivation, have a direct influence on the quantity and quality of
a person’s performance.
a broader perspective, learning environment design requires one to consider
both motivational and instructional influences on learners, and both
of these activities require consideration of learner goals and capabilities
together with cultural and environmental factors that affect attitudes
and performance. It is no wonder that the design of effective, efficient,
and appealing learning environments is a complex enterprise. Even though
there is a growing “technology,” in the sense of systematic
knowledge of how to create learning environments, there is also an art
to being able to successfully design and teach. The art of design and
teaching is based on both knowledge and experience and refers to the
necessity for personal judgment and problem solving. Many of the challenges
faced by teachers and designers cannot be solved “by the book.”
They can be solved by a combination of systematic problem solving and
personal judgment based on one’s overall experience and professional
expertise. However, by learning and applying systematic problem solving
processes, and by learning how to recognize and classify various types
of problems, one can increase one’s expertise and judgmental capacity.
This process will not lead you to automatic answers to motivational
problems, but it can help you systematically and predictably improve
the motivational qualities of your instruction.
more detailed information about this process, the following are examples
of relevant publications. If you have trouble obtaining any of these
items, please send me an email (email@example.com) and perhaps I
J. M. (2008). An integrative theory of motivation, volition, and performance. Technology, Instruction, Cognition, and Learning, 6, 79-104.
J. M. (1987). The systematic process of motivational design. Performance
& Instruction, 26(9), 1-8.
J. M. (1999). Motivation in cyber learning environments. Educational
Technology International, 1(1), 7 – 30.