Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gaining Audience Attention >

Whether face-to-face or online, gaining attention is a crucial element to course design. This element is prevalent in both Gagne's 9 Elements and Keller's ARCS Model. The important thing to consider in implementing this element is that it does not need to be a single occurrence at the start of course, but can be integrated throughout the course. And it must have a learning objective and/or reinforce the content at hand. Caution, don't overdo it. Adding attention grabbers can also become annoying distractions. So, be careful and get your beta testers' opinion too.

[caption id="attachment_875" align="aligncenter" width="149" caption="Here are a few things to consider when gaining attention."]Here are a few things to consider when gaining attention.[/caption]

  • It's ok to use humor, just be careful not to offend. Also, make sure it is not culturally specific...everyone should get the joke.

  • Quality graphics or animation are great. Remember only use them to reinforce and support the learning objective(s).

  • Sims,  scenarios or videos of how the content is applied will not only get their attention, but also reinforce the relevance of the course.

  • Do not be hesitant because something may be perceived as silly. I propose that increases in silliness have a positive correlation with learner retention. Yes, that is my hypothesis. At this time I have plenty of anecdotal evidence to support this. I would share this evidence with you, but my dog ate it.

  • Add educational games, puzzles, group exercises, etc.

Most importantly, if you have fun and add your personality in designing and/or facilitating the course your audience will have your attention and attention will be given to the content you are delivering. And of course retention and learner motivation will follow right along with it.

How do you gain attention?


  1. Great post! I can't say enough about how humor has benefited my instructional design projects. Recently I have had a couple of eLearning projects go really well by using well known employees as characters in the eLearning course. Everyone got a kick out of seeing people they know playing roles and now there is anticipation for who will be starring in the next course. Being a little silly can make a boring topic more enjoyable.

  2. I agree 100%. I commend all the eLearning developers out there who have the creativity to gain and keep attention in a way that is exciting, fun, and directly relates to the content. I am envious of your skills.

  3. Joe - using known employees as characters is a great idea! Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Thanks for sharing that great idea.

    Nikol - Thanks. These work for classroom training too. And we e-learning designers / developers envy classroom trainers like yourself who can gain and maintain the attention of a live audience. That is not easy.

  4. [...] Gaining Audience Attention >- MinuteBio, May 27, 2009 [...]


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