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What is the ARCS Model?

A problem-solving approach!

The ARCS model is a problem solving approach to designing the motivational aspects of learning environments to stimulate and sustain students’ motivation to learn (Keller, 1983, 1984, 1987). There are two major parts to the model. The first is a set of categories representing the components of motivation. These categories are the result of a synthesis of the research on human motivation. The second part of the model is a systematic design process that assists you in creating motivational enhancements that are appropriate for a given set of learners. The synthesis allows you to identify the various elements of student motivation, and the design process helps you profile the motivational characteristics of students in a given learning environment and then design motivational tactics that are appropriate for them. The model has been used and validated by teachers and trainers in elementary and secondary schools, colleges, and universities, and in adult learning settings in corporations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and military organization. In other words, in virtually every setting in which there is a requirement for people to learn. It has also been used around the world on virtually every continent, and has been used extensively in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Numerous research reports verify its validity and usefulness.


Elaborations of the categories of the ARCS model and the design process are contained in the remaining two parts of this folder. Each of those parts contains references for further reading. Following are three references mentioned above that describe the theoretical foundation of the ARCS model and the applied version of it.


Keller, J. M. (1983). Motivational design of instruction. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.),Instructional-design theories and models: An overview of their current status. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Keller, J. M. (1984). The use of the ARCS model of motivation in teacher training. In K. Shaw & A. J. Trott (Eds.), Aspects of Educational Technology Volume XVII: staff Development and Career Updating. London: Kogan Page.


Keller, J. M. (1987). Development and use of the ARCS model of motivational design.Journal of Instructional Development, 10(3), 2 – 10.


Keller, J. M. (2010). Motivational design for learning and performance: The ARCS model approach. New York: Springer.

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