Gagne's Nine Events

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The process of learning is an on-going event that occurs in each stage of human development. Human beings acquire a great deal of their personal qualities and characteristics through a variety of different learning methods. Through the work of educational psychologist Robert Gagne, a better understanding of learning and instruction can be found. Gagne presented the idea that there are different types of learning and that different instructional methods are needed to accompany these learning types in order to achieve the desired learning outcome. In recognizing learning as a process composed of several phases, Gagne created the Nine Events of Instruction. Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction are a series of steps to be followed during the instruction phase, often said to be necessary for learning to occur. The work Gagne produced is considered the primary research and contributor to instructional design and training. Robert Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction can best be described as an instructional design model utilized to organize strategies within a lesson. The Nine Events of Instruction include: Gain Attention, Inform the Learner of the Objectives, Stimulate Recall of Prior Learning, Present the Stimulus Materials, Provide Learner Guidance, Elicit Performance, Give Feedback, Assess Performance, and Enhance Retention and Transfer. Gagne firmly believed that effective learning involved a series of events. The instructor begins by gaining the learners attention and from there he/she will use “…a series of steps related to the development of learning expectations, introduction of stimuli, and recall of related ideas to move concepts from the student’s short to long-term memory” (Zhu & StAmant 2010). The events are completed successfully when the learner is able to apply what they have learned to new situations outside of the classroom. This is often seen within workplace training, where the employee applies what they have learned in training to their job. The Nine Events of Instruction were created to work in conjunction with the cognitive stages associated with the adult learning process (2010). Prior to the development of the Nine Events of Instructions, Gagne performed an in-depth examination of learning and its conditions. The foundation for the events model can be found in his book, The Conditions of Learning. To better understand the Nine Events of Instruction it is important to examine the work documented in this book. Learning, according to Gagne, is “…a change in human disposition or capability, which persists over a period of time, and which is not simply ascribable to processes of growth” (Gagne, 1977, p. 3). Learning, in its most basic form, is a change in behavior. This change may be brought upon by a change in attitude, interest or value and is often due to an increased capability for some type of performance. To be classified as change it “…must have more than momentary permanence; it must be capable of being trained over some period of time…it must be distinguishable from the kind of chance that is attributable to growth, such as a change in height or the development of muscles through exercise” (p. 3). With a clear definition of learning, one can identify the ways in which learning is brought about. Gagne’s work identifies four elements having to do with learning: learner, stimulus situation, contents of memory and response/performances. For learning to take place, there must be a learner. The learner is a human being whom possesses sense organs through which he/she receives stimulation. Learning will occur when stimulus situation and contents of memory (information previously learned and stored) affect the learner in a way that his/her performance changes. This change in performance ultimately indicates that learning has occurred. It is important to note, however, that it is necessary to show that there has been a change in performance, for the presence of the performance does not always...
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