Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction

Last Updated: August 25th, 2015

Tool Types:

Overview

Foundations in Education

Gagne’s book, The Conditions of Learning, first published in 1965, identified the mental conditions for learning. These were based on the information processing model of the mental events that occur when adults are presented with various stimuli. Gagne created a nine-step process called the events of instruction, which correlate to and address the conditions of learning.

Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction

  1. Gain attention
  2. Inform learners of objectives
  3. Stimulate recall of prior learning
  4. Present the content
  5. Provide “learning guidance”
  6. Elicit performance (practice)
  7. Provide feedback
  8. Assess performance
  9. Enhance retention and transfer to the job

Application to All Courses

The following information includes an explanation of each of the nine events as well as examples of how an instructor may apply the Nine Events of Instruction in the development and instruction of a course.

  1. Gain attention: Obtain students’ attention so that they will watch and listen while the instructor presents the learning content.
    • Utilize ice breaker activities, current news and events, case studies, YouTube videos, and so on. The object is to quickly grab student attention and interest in the topic.
    • Utilize technologies such as clickers, Live Question Tool, polls, and surveys to ask leading questions prior to lecture, survey opinion, or gain a response to a controversial question.
    • Show brief picture slideshows using Flickr, videos using YouTube, or excerpts from podcasts and videocasts that are evocative or will grab student attention.
    • In online and hybrid courses, use the discussion board for current news and events, to discuss a controversial topic, or to comment on media.
  2. Inform learners of objectives: Allow students to organize their thoughts regarding what they are about to see, hear, and/or do.
    • Include learning objectives in lecture slides, the syllabus, and in instructions for activities, projects, papers, and so on.
    • In online and hybrid courses, include learning objectives in introductory course materials, module pages, lecture slides, and the syllabus, as well as in instructions for activities, projects, papers, and so on.
  3. Stimulate recall of prior learning: Allow students to build on previous knowledge or skills.
    • Recall events from previous lecture, integrate results of activities into the current topic, and/or relate previous information to the current topic.
    • Give polls or surveys eliciting opinions, attitudes, or perceptions of previous materials. Moderate discussions about the poll results.
    • In online and hybrid courses, provide discussion board forums as part of “gaining attention” with a focus on relating the previous topic to the current topic.
  4. Present the content:
    • Utilize a variety of methods including lecture, readings, activities, projects, multimedia, and others.
    • Present or post content via a learning management system to allow students to access the materials outside of course meeting times.
    • In face to face courses, integrate the use of clickers or Live Question Tool to keep student attention during content presentation.
    • In online and hybrid courses, integrate the use of discussion boards, wikis, blogs, mediasite, YouTube, podcasts and other tools.
  5. Provide “learning guidance”: Provide students with instructions on how to learn, such as guided activities. With learning guidance, the rate of learning increases because students are less likely to lose time or become frustrated by basing performance on incorrect facts or poorly understood concepts.
    • Include detailed information such as rubrics for projects and activities. Provide expectations, instructions, and timelines.
  • In online and hybrid courses, create activities within the learning management system to allow for greater collaboration amongst students and interaction with the content.
  1. Elicit performance (practice): Allow students to apply knowledge and skills learned.
    • Allow students to apply knowledge in group or individual projects and activities, written assignments, lab practicals, and so on.
  2. Provide feedback: Allow students to receive feedback on individualized tasks, thereby correcting isolated problems rather than having little idea of where problems and inconsistencies in learning are occurring.
    • Provide detailed feedback on assignments showing students what was done correctly, what must be improved, and include explanations. Utilize rubrics when possible. Give formative (practice) feedback as well as on assessments.
    • Utilize tools such as Turnitin or Microsoft Change Tracking to quickly give feedback to large audiences.
    • Provide feedback to discussion.
    • Utilize peer-evaluation and self-evaluation or self-assessment methods.
  3. Assess performance: Allow students to see content areas that they have not mastered.
    • Utilize a variety of assessment methods including exams/quizzes, written assignments, projects, and so on. Utilize rubrics when grading activities that are not standard exam and quiz questions.
  4. Enhance retention and transfer to the job: Allow students to apply information to personal contexts. This increases retention by personalizing information.
    • Provide opportunities for students to relate course work to their personal experiences when designing essays and projects.
    • Provide opportunities for discussion in small groups or using a discussion board.

Example

Additional Resources

  • Eyre, Elizabeth (n.d.). Gagne’s Nine Levels of Learning: Training Your Team Effectively. Retrieved 12 August 2015 from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/gagne.htm.
  • Gagne, R. (1985). The Conditions of Learning, Fourth Edition. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
  • Gagne, R. (1987). Instructional Technology Foundations. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Association.
  • Gagne, R. & Driscoll, M. (1988). Essentials of Learning for Instruction, Second Edition. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
  • Gagne, R., Briggs, L. & Wager, W. (1992). Principles of Instructional Design, Fourth Edition. Fort Worth, Texas: HBJ College Publishers.

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