ARCS Motivation Model

Attention - Need for stimulation & variety - curiosity, boredom, arousal
Relevance - Desire to satisfy basic motives - needs, motives, attractions
Confidence - Desire to feel competent and in control - attributions, expectancies, self-efficacy
Satisfaction - Desire to feel good about oneself - intrinsic motivation, extrinsic incentives, equity

DOMAINS: Education, Distance Education

Contributors:  Sarah Chauncey           


Professor John Keller - Florida State University Profile
Official Website:

Bonnie J. Shellnut (1996, 1998). John Keller: A Motivating Influence in the Field of Instructional Systems Design. Wayne State University
Preface: This biography was written by Dr. Bonnie Shellnut while she was a doctoral student at Wayne State University. It is based on her careful reading of all my publications at the time and several personal interviews which I supported with references that I sent to her, especially for some of the background material. The end result is, I believe, a fair assessment of the development of my work together with its philosophical and theoretical underpinnings. John Keller, June, 2006.


"The ARCS model originated in 1979 and was grounded in expectancy-value theory, which assumed that people will be motivated to engage in the activities if they perceive there is a positive expectancy to be successful and if the activities are linked to the satisfaction of their needs. In its original form, the two categories-expectancy and value-were expanded to interest, relevance, expectancy and outcomes. After several years of research and application, the original model was transited to the ARCS model, which includes four conditions: attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction (Keller, 1984, 1987a)."
(Cheng & Yeh,  2009)

Evaluation Instruments:
  • The Instructional Material Motivational Survey (IMMS) (Keller, 1933) contains is a 36 Likert-scale statements. Each statement measures an individual ARCS component.

  • Huang et al. (2006), published a modified version, which they claim to be more appropriate for studies in higher education.

ARCS Model of Motivational Design
Small, R V, Zakaria, N, & El-Figuigui, H. (2004). p. 99

  • Perceptual Arousal (A-PA) (e.g., an incongruous or unexpected event, humor, novelty)
  • Inquiry Arousal (A-IA) (e.g., questioning, problem-solving activities)
  • Variability (A-V) (e.g., change of pace, format, or media)
  • Goal Orientation (R-GO) (e.g., specification of learning objectives, present value, and future use of learning)
  • Motive Matching (R-MM) (e.g., content and examples that relate to leamers' previous learning and experiences, positive role models, learning choices)
  • Familiarity (R-F) (e.g., concrete and familiar language and examples)
  • Learning Requirements (C-LR) (e.g., clearly specified criteria for successful learning or performance)
  • Success Opportunities (C-SO) (e.g., an attainable challenge, practice opportunities)
  • Personal Control (C-PC) (e.g., shared control of the pace or amount of content presented)
  • Natural Consequences (S-NC) (e.g.; opportunities to immediately use newly acquired knowledge or skill in a real or simulated setting)
  • Positive Consequences (S-PC) (e.g., provide positive feedback and reinforcements that will sustain the desired behavior, unexpected rewards)
  • Equity (S-E) (e.g., maintain consistent standards and,consequences for learning accomplishments).

  •  To be read: Astleitner, Hermann; Hufnagl, Manuela (2003). The Effects of Situation-Outcome-Expectancies and of ARCS-Strategies on Self-Regulated Learning with Web-Lectures. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, Vol. 12, 2003

  • Carson, C H. (2006). The relationship between hypermedia producers. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 47(2), 106-26.

  • READ: ChanLin, L.. (2009). Applying motivational analysis in a Web-based course. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 46(1), 91-103.  Retrieved February 18, 2010, from Platinum Periodicals. (Document ID: 1710336931)

  • READ: View Article Cheng, Yi-Chia; Yeh, Hsin-Te.(2009) From Concepts of Motivation to Its Application in Instructional Design: Reconsidering Motivation from an Instructional Design Perspective. British Journal of Educational Technology 40(4) 597-605.

  • READ: Huang, D W, Diefes-Dux, H, Imbrie, P K, et al. (2004). Learning motivation evaluation for a computer-based instructional tutorial using arcs model of motivational design. Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference., 1(Conf 34), T1E.

  • READ: Huett, J., Kalinowski, K. E., Moller, L. & Huett, K. (2008). Improving the Motivation and Retention of Online Students Through the Use of ARCS-Based E-Mails. American Journal of Distance Education, 22(3), 159-176. doi:10.1080/08923640802224451

  •  Hung-Chang Liao, Ya-huei Wangn (2008) Applying The ARCS Motivation Model In Technological And Vocational Education   Medical University Contemporary Issues In Education Research - Second Quarter 2008 Volume 1, Number 2 53.

  •  Jaemu, Lee, Kim, Y, & Lee, Y. (2008). A web-based program to motivate underachievers learning number sense. International Journal of Instructional Media, 35(2), 185-94.
  • Keller, J. M. (2006). What is Motivational Design. Florida State University.

  • READ: Kim, C, & Keller, J M. (2008). Effects of motivational and volitional email messages (mvem) with personal messages on undergraduate students. British journal of educational technology, 39(1), 36-51.

  • Schön, I., Hoffmann, P., & Herczeg, M. (Date unknown). The combination of instructional and narrative models for e-learning. In Göbel, St., Braun, N., Spierling, U., Dechau, J. & Diener, H. (Eds.) TIDSE, 1st International Conference on Technologies for Interactive Digital Storytelling and Entertainment. Stuttgart. Fraunhofer Verlag. pp. 176-186.

  • READ: Song, S H, & Keller, J M. (2001). Effectiveness of motivationally adaptive computer-assisted instruction on the dynamic aspects of motivation. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 49(2), 5-22.

  • READ: View Article Small, Ruth V. (2006) Designing Motivation into Library and Information Skills Instruction American Library Association, September 27, 2006. Ruth V. Small, Associate Professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University. (Accessed November 15, 2009) Citation "small,"

  •  Small, R.V. (1992, Apr.). Taking AIM: Approaches to instructional motivation. "School Library Media Activities Monthly," 8(8), 32-34.

  •  Small, R.V. (1997). "Assessing the motivational quality of world wide websites." ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology. (ED 407 930)

  • READ: Small, R V. (1999). An exploration of motivational strategies used by library media specialists during library and information skills instruction {computer file}. School library media research.

  • READ: Small, R V. (2000). Motivation in instructional design. Teacher Librarian, 27(5), 29-31.

  • READ: Small, R V, Zakaria, N, & El-Figuigui, H. (2004). Motivational aspects of information literacy skills instruction in community college libraries. College and research libraries, 65(2), 96-121.

  •  Small, R V, & Gluck, M. (1994). The relationship of motivational conditions to effective instructional attributes: A magnitude scaling approach. Educational
    technology, 34, 33-40.

  • READ: Yang, J C, Huang, Y T, Tsai, C C, et al. (2009). An automatic multimedia content summarization system for video recommendation. Journal of educational technology & society, 12(1), 49-61.

Date Order: Articles / Books  by Dr. Keller
  • Keller, J.M., & Pugh, R. (1976). Sex similarities and differences in locus of control in relation to
    academic adjustment measures.
    Measurement and Evaluation in Guidance, 9(3), 110-118.

  • Keller, J.M., Goldman, J.A. & Sutterer, J.R. (1978). Locus of control in relation to academic attitudes and performance in a PSI course. Journal of Educational Psychology, 70, 414-421.

  • Keller, J.M., Kelly., & Dodge, B. (1978). A practitioners guide to concepts and measures of motivation. Syracuse, New York: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources. (104 pages)

  • Keller, J.M. (1979). Motivation and instructional design: A theoretical perspective. Journal of Instructional Development, 2 (4), 26 - 34.

  • Keller, J.M., & Dodge, B. (1982). The ARCS model of motivational strategies for course designers and developers. Training Developments Institute, Fort Monroe, VA, U.S.A.

  • Keller, J.M. (1983). Development and use of the ARCS model of motivational design. Enschede, The Netherlands: Toegepaste Onderwijskunde, Technische Hogeshool Twente. (24 pages)

  • Keller, J.M. (1983). Motivational design of instruction.  In C.M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional Design theories and models. (pp. 383-433). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

  • Keller, J. M. (1984). The use of the ARCS model of motivation in teacher training. In K. Shaw & A. J. Trott (Eds.), Aspects of Educational Technology Volume XVII: staff Development and Career Updating. London: Kogan Page.

  • Keller, J. M. (1987). Development and use of the ARCS model of motivational design. Journal of Instructional Development, 10(3), 2 - 10.
    Not sure which title is correct the one above or one below, have to check this out.
  • Keller, J.M. (1987). Development and use of the ARCS model of instructional design. Journal of
    Instructional Development, 10(3), 2-10.

  • Keller, J.M. (1987, Oct.). Strategies for stimulating the motivation to learn. "Performance and Instruction," 26(8), 1-7. (EJ 362 632)

  • Keller, J.M. (1987). "IMMS: Instructional materials motivation survey." Florida State University.

  • Keller, J.M., & Kopp, T. (1987). Application of the ARCS model of motivational design. In C.M. Reigeluth(Ed.), Instructional theories in action: Lessons illustrating selected theories and models. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, U.S.A

  • Keller, J. M. (1987). Strategies for stimulating the motivation to learn. Performance & Instruction, 26(8), 1-7.

  • Keller, J. M. (1987). The systematic process of motivational design. Performance & Instruction, 26(9), 1-8.

  • Keller, J.M., & Suzuki, K. (1988). Application of the ARCS model to courseware design. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Instructional Designs for Microcomputer Courseware (pp. 401-434). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  • Keller, J.M. & Keller, B.H. (1989). "Motivational delivery checklist." Florida State University.8 , Pages 37 - 47 Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

  • Visser, J., & Keller, J.M. (1990). The clinical user of motivational messages: An inquiry into the validity of the ARCS model of motivational design. Instructional Science, 19, 467 - 500.

  • Keller, J. M. & Keller, B.H. (1991). Motivating learners with multimedia instruction. Proceedings of ICOMMET '91, The Japanese Association for Educational Technology and the International Society for Technology in Education.Tokyo, 313-316.

  • Keller, J.M. (1992). Enhancing the motivation to learn: Origins and applications of the ARCS model. Reports from the Institute for Education, Tohoku Gakuin Univresity, 11, 45-67

  • Keller, J.M. (1992). Motivational Systems. In H. Stolovitch, & E. Keeps (Eds), Handbook of Human Performance Technology. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.

  • Keller, J.M., & Burkman, E. (1993). Motivation Principles (Chapter 1). In M. Fleming, & W.H.Levie (Eds.), Instructional message design (2nd Ed.). Educational Technology Publications, U.S.A.

  • Keller, J.M. (1994). Trends and tactics for employee motivation, HR Horizons, 115(Winter 94), 5-10.

  • Astleitner, H., & Keller, J. (1995). A model of motivationally adaptive computer-assisted instruction, Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 27(3), 270-281.

  • Kaufman, R., Keller, J., & Watkins, R. (1995). What works and what doesn’t: Evaluation beyond Kirpatrick. Performance and Instruction, (8-12).

  • Keller, J.M. (1996). Motivational design and multimedia: Beyond the novelty effect. Proceedings of the International Symposium on New Technologies of Instruction, 1966. Taipei: Taiwan: National Taiwan Teacher's College. (This document is available in English and Chinese.)

  • Keller, J. M. (1996). Validation of the ARCS Model of motivational design. Paper presented at the 21st Annual Meeting for Japan Society for Information and Systems in Education, Kanazawa, JAPAN

  • Keller, John M.; Suzuki, Katsuaki; Gakuin, Tohoku (1996). Creation and Cross Cultural Validation of an ARCS Motivational Design Matrix. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Japanese Association for Educational Technology, Kanazawa, Japan (July, 1996).

  • Suzuki, K., Keller, J. M., & Computer Project Team. (1996.8). Use of the ARCS motivational design matrix in designing units with computers at Sendai Daiichi Junior High School. Paper presented at the 21st Annual Meeting for Japan Society for Information and Systems in Education, Kanazawa, JAPAN

  • Keller, J. M. (1997). Motivational design and multimedia. Beyond the novelty effect. Strategic Human Resource Development Review, 1, 188-203.

  • Keller, J. M. (1999). Motivational systems. in H.D. Stolovitch & E.J. Keeps (Eds), Handbook of human performance technology (2nd ed. pp. 373-394) San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

  • Keller, J. M. (1999). Motivation in cyber learning environments. Educational Technology International, 1(1),
    7 - 30.

  • To be read:  Keller, J. M. (2002).Motivation and performance. In R.A. Reiser & J. V. Dempsey (Eds). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (pp. 83-98). Upper Saddle River, NJ:Prentice Hall.

  • To be read:  Keller, J. M., & Suzuki, K. (2004). Learner motivation and e-Learning design: A mutinationally validated process. Journal of Educational Media, 29(3), 229-239. October 2004. (See PDF file No.2)

  • READ: Keller, J. M., (2006) What Is Motivational Design?
    Revised and expanded version of a previously published encyclopedia article.

Others Recommended on J. Keller's Website