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Creating a cohesive course that provides professional development, encourages self-assessment, and promotes collaboration is one of the basis of eLearning design. When this course is specifically targeted at adult learners, it must take into account their characteristics. To a certain degree, it will also need to overcome some of the barriers that adult learners might face in their learning journey. In this article, I will talk about motivation strategies you can incorporate in your course using the ARCS Model.

Curriculum Design and the ARCS Model

As a curriculum designer or lesson planner, you can use components of the ARCS Model to create a curriculum that stimulates, engages and involves adult learners. The ARCS Model is, in my opinion, the best motivational model that curriculum designers can draw from. I will outline below how the model can be best applied in curriculum design

ARCS stands for

  • Attention
  • Relevance
  • Confidence
  • Satisfaction
Image Source:Flare Learning


Educational Psychologist, John Keller, theorised that various methods: humour, active participation, using real-life examples, etc., could be used in curriculum design to grab and retain a learner’s attention. Stimulating perception and inquiry keep the learner’s interest. In the case of perceptual stimulation, learners’ attention will be drawn to surprise, doubt, or disbelief. Stimulating inquiry draws learners to resolve or question the intricacies of life. A curriculum designer can look at humour as a tool to draw the attention of disengaged learners. The curriculum designer can opt to use short, light-hearted humour as ice-breakers. Another option is to indicate practical application of learnt content into resolving real-life problems. This can intrigue a learner who is faced with a challenge or is solution-driven.


A curriculum designer should establish a sense of familiarity between the learner and the content; use relatable content to stimulate and engage learners. This can be achieved by offering examples of how the content will help resolve present and future problems that learners are faced with. Keller calls this the perceived present worth and the perceived future usefulness.


Curriculum design requires you to create learning activities that teach and promote confidence in learners. Learners should trust the content and be convinced that it’s designed to set them up for success. That is why it’s important to state the curriculum outcomes clearly to align course objectives with their needs. The design process needs to factor in feedback processes to acknowledge learner strengths and areas of improvement. This can motivate learners to improve areas of lack.


The purpose of learning is to achieve proficiency or acquire new knowledge. It is more satisfactory to get some form of acknowledgement or reward after you’ve achieved a milestone. As a curriculum designer, think of implementing a reward system – implementing it after completing a milestone will help motivate learners. It doesn’t have to be merit-based, or only at the end of the entire course. It can be short stimuli rewards that propel the learner to success.
Adult learners get distracted or demotivated for various reasons. Always research your audience and try to implement suitable motivational strategies. and remember to enjoy the journey and experience that comes with crafting an impactful course that actively stimulates and encourages adult learners.




an image of a person recording a webinar with the text screen recording
Screen recording tools are a brilliant way of sharing your knowledge with your team, your clients, partners and learners. In this video, I am sharing with you a few screen recording tools that are used, and links to all of them are below. It is much easier to explain concepts with a visual illustration of what you are talking about. I often record instructional videos could like quick explainers – talking my team through their tasks, project details and so on.