Instructional Design Articles.

Gagne's 9 eLearning events explained

Gagne's 9 eLearning events explained

Oct 10, 2021

Gagne's 9 Instructional Events by Robert Gagne provide all the circumstances for learning to occur. These events are backed by science and have been practiced for decades. Gagne's events can be used to drive your lesson ideas, storyboards and learning programs. The events serve as a roadmap for your learning journey.

As you gain more experience, you are sure to find inventive methods to incorporate these learning situations into your designs. These events do not have to occur in a straight line.

Imagine you're going to a concert, or a wedding, or something important to you. You know it's going to be an awesome event — but how do you prepare for it?

Well, part of your preparation will depend on the event itself. If it's a concert, you'll probably want to bring some money and wear clothes that are comfortable but still look cool. If it's a wedding, maybe you'll take some extra time to pick out your outfit and make sure your hair looks good.

What if we told you that preparing for an event isn't all that different from preparing for learning? That's right: like preparing for an event, there are certain things learners have to do in order to learn effectively. And this has been proven by research!

Our colleague Robert Gagne introduced a framework called the Nine Events of Instruction. It describes nine essential events that lead to learning. They're called "events" because they're like steps that lead up to learning — and they need to happen in the correct order!

In this article, we'll explain Gagne's Nine Events of Instruction and show how they apply to eLearning.

First Event. Gain Attention.

Gagne's first event is generally satisfied by offering a shift in stimuli (such as turning on and off the lights in a classroom).

However, the purpose of this event is to pique the learner's curiosity in what's to come and bring them into the experience.

You can use some of the following ways to capture the learner's attention during an eLearning experience:

  • • Incorporate an interesting interactive feature, such as allowing the user to pick their avatar, to provide an engaging tale that is related to the topic.

  • • Pose a thought-provoking question and get a response from the user.

  • • Show an interesting video or animation.

  • • Keep in mind that the user's experience of this event should not feel like effort. Your method to capturing attention should motivate your users to participate in the learning process.

The most effective methods for capturing consumers' attention in eLearning courses are either entertaining or extremely relevant to their needs and interests.

Second Event. State the Learning Objectives.

To meet Gagne's second event, you must inform the learner of what they will learn.

This prepares students for their learning experience. It establishes expectations for what the experience will entail and what skills or information they may anticipate to gain from it.

If you're an instructional designer, you're probably well-versed in creating learning objectives. You understand how to check all of the essential boxes and guarantee that your goals are immediately translated into quantifiable accomplishments.

You do not, however, have to display your students these well-crafted objectives. These objectives' technical words and degree of information frequently cause learners' eyes to glaze over.

Instead, use conversational language to explain your learning objectives. Rather than stating that you will learn how to "Describe the purpose of each component in the Plantatron 2000" and "Fix each component in the Plantatron 2000," it is preferable to inform learners that they will "learn everything there is to know about the Plantatron 2000, including how to fix it if it breaks."

Third Event. Stimulate Recall

Gagne suggests that you increase memory of past information before delivering fresh instructional content.

It makes it simpler for the learner to absorb new knowledge into their long-term memory by assisting them in bringing past knowledge into their working memory.

This is due to the fact that new information gets encoded into long-term memory when links are made between new information and information that already exists in long-term memory.

You may aid foster long-term learning by promoting these linkages and assisting your learners in accumulating past information.

You may accomplish this in a variety of ways, including:

  • • Inquiring inquiries that require the learner to rely on prior knowledge

  • • Requesting that the student outline their prior knowledge on the issue.

  • • You're referring to pre-existing information that you believe the learners already have.

Fourth Event. Present Content

Gagne suggests that you give the educational information at this moment. You should divide the material into bite-sized bits to make it simpler to consume, and you should include examples to assist your audience understand.

Content in the context of eLearning can take the shape of animated videos, text-based presentations, PDFs, narrated slideshows, and many more formats.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your material is connected with your learning objectives, and it is also a good idea to follow Mayer's Multimedia Learning Principles.

Fifth Event. Provide Guidance

Gagne's 5th event refers to the assistance that you should offer your learners in order to assist them in acquiring new skills and information. Guidance can take numerous forms, but it is critical that you do not miss this occurrence.

If you consider Gagne's 4th event to be your opportunity to deliver all of the essential material, Gagne's 5th event is your opportunity to give tactics and recommendations that your learners may use to learn or retain the content more readily.

The following are some of the most typical instances of guidance:

  • • Devices for Memorization (such as "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos" to remember the order of the planets);

  • • Tips or tips for studying the content (e.g. "Making flashcards is a great way to help you remember the vocab words");

You may give assistance in the context of eLearning by:

  • • Making suggestions on how frequently the user should return to the course;

  • • Advising the user on the guides or job aids to utilize to fulfill the tasks;

  • • Providing suggestions for things the learner may do on their own time to reinforce the acquired skills or knowledge

Sixth Event. Elicit Performance

"Providing practice opportunities" is equivalent with "eliciting performance." If you're an instructional designer, you're probably well aware of the importance of practice in the learning process.

Practice allows the learner to try out their new information and abilities. They may progressively encode new stuff into long-term memory by frequently using the new knowledge or abilities.

Practice opportunities can be provided in the form of multiple-choice questions, gamified experiences, drag-and-drop interactions, scenario-based questions, simulations, and much more inside eLearning.

Seventh Event. Provide Feedback

Eliciting performance and providing feedback go hand in hand.

When you offer practice chances, you must provide feedback so that the learner can see what they're doing well as well as what they need to work on.

Because feedback is an important part of any instructional eLearning experience, you should provide detailed explanations for why each incorrect answer is incorrect and why each correct answer is correct. It is preferable to deliver this feedback as soon as possible after the learner has answered the question or completed the assignment.

Digesting pertinent feedback allows the learner to alter their mental models and cognitive skills as needed, allowing them to perform better on the assessment or on the job. Don't pass up this opportunity!

Eight Event. Assess Performance

Gagne's eighth event, evaluate performance, benefits both the instructional designer and the learner.

This event comprises administering a graded evaluation to determine the extent to which participants absorbed the new information or abilities.

The most typical technique to assess an eLearning course is to offer a scored set of questions at the end of the experience. If the new talent is tied to a computer task, you may additionally include graded software simulations.

If you have a higher budget and want to be more creative, you can build a gamified evaluation. In addition, if you want to learn more about how to develop successful exams, I recommend looking into psychometrics.

The assessment results are beneficial to the learner because they can use them to determine how well or poorly they understand the new knowledge or skills; similarly, this data benefits designers because it allows them to adjust their instructional experience as needed based on the performance of the participants.

Last Event. Enhance Transfer and Retention

Gagne's ninth event asks you to assist the learner in transferring the acquired skills or information to their life or jobs.

For example, if I create an eLearning course on how to repair a machine, I will include a quick-reference PDF that the participant may take with them and utilize on the job. You're linking the experience from the training environment to the actual world by supplying artifacts like these.

You may also improve transfer in eLearning by asking questions on how the learner will apply the new knowledge or skills in their daily lives.

By encouraging the learner to consider how they will use the new content, you are assisting them in making connections between the new material and their actual requirements. Bridging this gap while they are still in the learning setting enhances the probability that they will remember it when they return to the workplace.

Finally, you may improve transfer and retention by simulating the work situation in the learning environment as nearly as feasible. Realistic backgrounds, speeches, and activities should be used.

The more similar the learning environment is to the performance setting, the more likely the new content will transfer successfully.

Wrap Up

Gagne sketched out every component required for an instructionally sound learning experience. These nine occurrences, however, do not have to occur in the sequence described in this article.

Instead, combine these events into every phase of your experience – address the learner's existing knowledge wherever possible, incorporate attention-grabbing aspects whenever possible, and give plenty of practice and feedback for each target.

These components should all be present, but there is no predetermined framework to which your experience must conform.

Once you've mastered Gagne's 9 Events and feel comfortable implementing each event into your design, you'll likely discover that your instructional design becomes lot more efficient and confident.