Available scholarship on educational instruction proves the existence of a multiplicity of theories and paradigms geared toward fostering class participation, enhancing the learning processes, and facilitating the transfer of knowledge right through a professional development program for all participants (Gegenfurtner & Vauras, 2012; Wlodkowski, 2011).
This paper compares two such theories, namely Wlodkowski’s motivational framework for culturally responsive teaching and Keller’s ARCS model, before reviewing and discussing two scholarly documents regarding the two models and how they are currently perceived in adult education.
The motivational framework for culturally responsive teaching is firmly grounded on the presumptions that professional development programs are multicultural environments where teachers must relate their content to participants of varying backgrounds, and that engagement in learning is the visible outcome of motivation, which is described in the framework as the natural capability to direct energy in the pursuit of an objective (Wlodkowski, 2011).
In contrast, Keller’s ARCS model is premised on Tolman’s and Lewin’s expectancy-value theory, which presupposes that individuals are motivated to learn if there is intrinsic or extrinsic value in the knowledge presented and if there exists an optimistic expectation for achieving success (Keller 2000).
Consequently, it can be argued that the motivating factors in both theories are different.
The above view is reinforced by the fact that while Wlodkowski’s model comprises four motivational conditions namely establishing inclusion, developing the attitude of learners, enhancing the meaning of content and engendering competence among those involved in professional development programs, Keller’s ARCS model entails four thematic areas namely attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction (Huett et al., 2010; Wlodkowski, 2011).
In this context, it can be argued that both theories view relevance/meaning as important in motivating learners and that the instructor and learners should collaboratively create or enhance the mentioned motivational conditions.
As documented in the existing literature, both theories also emphasize the creation of confidence and the development of attitude among learners.
However, while the confidence facet of the ARCS model is grounded on instituting positive expectations for achieving success among learners, Wlodkowski’s model focuses more on the development of attitude, and argues that it is the function of the instructor and learners to create a favorable disposition toward the learning experience through personal relevance and choice (Huett et al., 2010; Wlodkowski, 2011).
In reviewing and discussing two academic sources regarding the two models, it is essential to mention that Gegenfurtner and Vauras (2012) underscore the value of the motivational conditions in Wlodkowski’s model (establishing inclusion, developing attitude, enhancing meaning, engendering competence) in any attempt aimed at developing intrinsic motivation among all participants in a professional development program.
Tellingly, the authors’ also acknowledge that the motivational conditions work in concert, hence the importance of clearly understanding the program among adult learners, developing a deeper understanding of the participants, building on the principles of adult learning, as well as being contextual, fundamental, and responsible.
Consequently, this model has a place in adult learning, particularly when it comes to the employment of motivational conditions to instill learning among the adult population.
Lastly, in their study on John M. Keller and his contributions to the field of educational technology, Francom and Reeves (2010) suggest that the researcher’s motivational concepts and strategies not only provide systematic ways to positively influence learner motivation based on the conception that behavior is a function of the person and environment, but also avail a basis through which instructors teaching adult education can provide adequate attention to learners in instructional settings and more accurately provide them with an in-depth understanding about how to influence motivation to learn.
In retrospect, there is compelling evidence indicating that adult learners need to be motivated to learn and instructors need to establish positive expectations for achieving success among this group of the population, hence the applicability of the two models to modern learning environments in adult education.
Francom, G., & Reeves, T.C. (2010). John M. Keller: A significant contributor to the field of educational technology. Educational Technology, 55-58. Web.
Gegenfurtner, A., & Vauras, M. (2012). Age-related differences in the relation between motivation to learn and transfer of training in adult continuing education. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 37(1), 33-46.
Huett, J.B., Moller, L., Young, J., Bray, M., & Huett, K.C. (2010). Supporting the distant student: The effect of ARCS-based strategies on confidence and performance. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 9(2), 113-126.
Wlodkowski, R.J. (2011). Enhancing adult motivation to learn: A comprehensive guide for teaching adults. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.