Terminology Tuesday: Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction


The talk about learning styles bled into some discussion of Bloom’s Taxonomy and Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction, so it seems like a naturally progression that I discuss one of these (I’ve talked exhaustively about Bloom’s Taxonomy, so Gagne’s on my hit list).

Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction

Instructional Designer and scholar, Robert Gagne seems to have loved numbers. He breaks everything down into them – 5 categories of learning, 8 ways to learn, but most notably, he identified nine events of instruction:

1.Gain the learners’ attention

2.Inform learners of the objective

3.Stimulate recall of prior learning

4.Present the stimulus

5.Provide guidance for the learners

6.Elicit learn performance

7.Provide feedback

8.Assess learner performance.

9.Enhance retention and transfer

Per Gagne’s original conception, each event requires at least one instructional activity, and the sequence of the instruction is a direct correlation to the efficacy of instruction.

These are great, but how do they apply?

  • Gain the learners’ attention – Begin your instruction asking a thought-provoking question that will get your learners engaged in discussion (or at least some critical thinking). I usually ask my learners a few questions about their thoughts on certain topics that will be discussed in that class. This allows them to provide a self-assessment response of sorts (albeit informal), with which they can reflect on at the end of the lecture.
  • Stimulate recall of prior learning – Your learners may engage more with the content or retain the content better if you relate the new information to things they already know. For example, in my class, there are a lot of learners who are teachers within the local school board; as such, I often relate new information with similar concepts they may have encountered within their schools. This helps facilitate deeper understanding of the concepts being discussed as they feel more tangible to the learners.
  • Present the stimulus – Be creative! Within the face-to-face environment, you can vary your presentation, your pitch, your tone, your intonation…you can beat box your lesson if you want. It’s a bit trickier in the online environment. Here, you’ll need to get creative with your e-learning, crafting interactions the students can immerse themselves in, such as software simulations, click and reveal interactions, case studies, etc.
  • Provide guidance for the learners – Provide support for your learners. This can be as simple as including additional resources, job aids, or navigation instructions. Don’t make them fly blind.
  • Illicit learner performance – Let your learners apply their understanding.  The sooner learners can apply the newly learned information, the more likely they will be able to retain it.
  • Provide feedback – Providing feedback on your learner’s performance will help them improve as they progress throughout the course. Be timely with your feedback, as this will be most effective.
  • Assess learner performance – Provide learners with a formal assessment. The assessment should mimic what has been presented throughout the practice opportunities, and you will only assess learners on information they were presented – no new information.
  • Enhance retention and transfer – You can help facilitate learner retention by providing them with information to take with them in the future, such as written feedback, job aids, or checklists.

Screencast Monday: Using States in Articulate Storyline to Control Navigation

Hey there – it’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a Screencast Monday, so I figured what better way of doing a screencast, but to show you a very functional navigation control effect in Articulate Storyline.

I’m currently working on a project that requires the navigation to be locked down on interactive screens until all slide objects have been interacted with, and the easiest way of doing this for me is by using the states feature in Storyline. There are a few different ways you can do this, so don’t feel forced into using states; this is just my preferred method.

E-Learning Challenge #149 – Using Notecard Interactions in E-Learning

The Concept

This week’s challenge was to share an example of how notecard interactions can be used in e-learning. My gut instinct was to go with my favourite style for learning objective click and reveal interactions:

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 2.47.15 PM

But then I haven’t participated in the ELH Challenges lately, so I figured it would be nice to whip something up quickly.

The Method

In considering this challenge, I got Pantone colour chips in my head…not sure why, but that’s where my Saturday night brain was going, so I thought it might be neat to have Pantone-style chips that when clicked, reveal the year in which the colour was Pantone’s colour of the year.

To do this, I created the chips, with two shapes: 1 rectangle with a white fill, no border, and a lower-left shadow. The next shape was used for the text, it was a rectangle with white fill and no border. I then looked up a group of Pantone’s colours of the year, took a screenshot, and tossed the image into Storyline as a basis. For the colour section of the chip, I used the colour picker to achieve accurate swatches, and then added the text to the lower rectangle.

I copied these shapes three more times, for four shapes in total and repeated the process. Once finished, I grouped each chip’s shapes, added a trigger to show layer, and created a new layer for each chip; on this layer, I simply added the year in which the colour was Pantone’s colour of the year.

The Result


Click Here to view the full interaction.

Terminology Tuesday: Learning Styles – The Great Debate


After searching through my Terminology Tuesday posts, I was shocked I had yet to discuss learning styles. Oi. I recently had a great discussion with my graduate students about their thoughts on learning styles, so it seems appropriate to share some of that discussion here with you lovely folks!

Learning Styles

The idea behind the concept of learning styles is that everyone receives and processes information differently. This may be correct, but that assumption places a lot of pressure on the teacher to be able to correctly identify each student’s learning style and THEN accommodate that learning style. In classes of 20, 30, or 200…that just doesn’t seem like a feasible task.

It has not yet been proven that ”designing instruction to meet the specific learning styles of individuals increases academic achievement” (Ellis, 2005). However, awareness that learners comprehend information differently should remind anyone responsble for designing instruction to provide a number of activities that stimulate learners’ thinking in a variety of different ways.” (Brown & Green, 2016, p. 76).

The main argument against learning styles right now is that they don’t exist and are merely preferences. Every learner has individual learning preferences.

Within the Ted Talk video, below, the speaker discusses the emergence of learning styles and it seems almost conspiratorial in that we’ve been so brainwashed to believe in learning styles that the sheer suggestion they don’t exist can take some time to process and investigate further.


What do you think about learning styles?!


Brown, A. H., & Green, T. D. (2016). The essentials of instructional design: Connecting fundamental principles with process and practice (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Ellis, A. K. (2005). Research on educational innovations (4th ed.). Poughkeepsie, NY: Eye on Education.