Robert Gagne was an educational psychologist who created a nine step process called the Events of Instruction. Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction model helps trainers, educators, and instructional designers structure their training sessions. The model is a systematic process that helps them develop strategies and create activities for instructional classes. The nine events provide a framework for an effective learning process. Each step addresses a form of communication that supports the learning process. When each step is completed, learners are much more likely to be engaged and to retain the information or skills that they are being taught. The steps essentially give designers an outline or prototype to use prior to performing teaching or training activities.
In his book, The Conditions of Learning, Gagne identified the mental conditions for learning. These were based on the information processing model that focuses on the cognitive events that occur when learners are presented with a stimulus. Gagne Nine Events of Instruction are connected to and address the Conditions of Learning. Gagne divides the conditions into two groups; internal and external. Internal conditions are the already established learned capabilities of the learner. Basically, what the learner knows prior to the instruction. External conditions deal with the stimuli that is presented externally to the learner (e.g. instruction provided to the learner). These Conditions of Learning are essential to Gagne’s Events of Instruction. Gagne’s model allows instructional designers to consider the possible internal and external conditions that have an effect on the learning process.
The nine Events of Instruction can be divided into three segments;
Instruction and Practice
Assessment and Transfer
Begin the learning session by gaining the attention of the learners. Ensure the learners are motivated to learn and participate in activities by presenting a stimulus to gain their attention. This can be accomplished by presenting the learners with an introductory activity that engages the learner.
Techniques for gaining learner’s attention include:
After gaining their attention, inform the learners of the learning objectives to help them understand what they will be learning during the session. State what the learners will be able to accomplish during the session and how they will be able to use the knowledge in the future. This allows the learners to organize their thoughts on what they will learn and help place them in the proper mind set.
Techniques for stating the objectives include:
Help the learners make sense of new information by relating it to something they already know or something they have already experienced. To accomplish this present the learner with an experience or cue that stimulates their prior knowledge. Make connections between what they are learning, and their previous learning. When people learn something new, it is best to correlate the new information with related information or topics they have learned in the past.
Methods for stimulating recall include:
Present the learner with the new information using learning strategies to provide effective and efficient instruction. Organize and chunk content in a meaningful way. Provide explanations after demonstrations.
Ways to present session content include:
Offer the learner guidance by providing coaching on how to learn the skill. Give examples and advise of strategies to aid them in the learning content and of resources available to them. Also, provide guidance using cues, hints, and/or prompts to help them understand and remember what they are learning.
Ways to provide learning guidance include:
Let the learner do something with the newly acquired behavior, skills, or knowledge. Provide them with practice activities to activate the learning process. This activity allows the learner to internalize the new information (skills and knowledge) and to ensure correct understanding and application of the knowledge/concepts.
Ways to activate learner processing include:
After the learner attempts to demonstrate their knowledge, provide immediate feedback of learner’s performance to assess and facilitate learning. This is also a good time to reinforce any important points.
This stage helps reinforcement of a correct answer, gives guidance as to the degree of correctness of the task, and/or provides corrective feedback if the response or behavior is incorrect.
Tips on providing feedback:
In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the instructional events, administer a test the learner to determine if the expected learning outcomes have been achieved. Performance should be based on previously stated objectives.
Methods for assessing performance learning include:
Give the learner resources that enhance retention and transfer of knowledge so that they are able to internalize the new knowledge and enhance his or her expertise. Repeated practice with effective feedback is the best way to ensure that people retain information and use it effectively.
Methods for helping learners internalize new knowledge include:
Gagne, R., Briggs, L. & Wager, W. (1992). Principles of Instructional Design (4th Ed.). Fort Worth, TX: HBJ College Publishers.
Gagne, R. (1985). The Conditions of Learning (4th.). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Gagne, R. (1987). Instructional Technology Foundations. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc.