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Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction


Dr. Robert Gagné, an educational psychologist, is best known for his work named The Conditions of Learning. He offers us a systematic approach to instructional development and delivery in the form of “instructional events.” He called these events the “Nine Events of Instruction.” The events are sequential, and the table below outlines the sequence. The Instructional Strategies column in the table suggests things you might do for each of the nine events in an online class.

Instructional Event
Instructional Strategies
Gain attention This signals the beginning of a new learning event. It should evoke curiosity.
  • Announcement in the New item area
  • Leading questions in the discussion area
  • Present a dilemma
  • Present an analogy
  • Present something controversial
  • Short video or audio
Inform the learner of the objectives Describe in detail what you expect them to do, and how that will be assessed, but keep it short.
  • List of objectives
  • Guidelines
  • Rubrics
  • checklists
  • Discussion
Stimulate the recall of prior knowledge This step bridges prior knowledge to upcoming instruction. This is the “hook.”
  • Review prior material
  • Explain how prior knowledge relates to new topic (text/audio)
  • Initiate discussion by asking students to discuss prior learning
Present the stimulus material This is the “lecture” part of the new topic.
  • Readings
  • Audio lectures
  • PowerPoints with audio
  • Videos
  • Web sites
  • Other resources
Provide learning guidance The instructor provides guidelines, tools, and strategies to support learning, but does not give answers.
  • Ask for the “muddiest moment” of the lecture (feedback)
  • Study guides
  • Guidelines
  • Checklists
  • Rubrics
  • Deadlines
  • Whole class or group discussions
Elicit performance This is the developmental or practice phase of the topic to be learned. The point is to allow students to practice new knowledge before they are assessed for a grade.
  • Practice quizzes with little or no weight
  • Drafts of papers
  • Whole class discussions
  • Games
Provide feedback Feedback is important when learning new information. Prompt feedback can reinforce retention of the material. Feedback can come from self-tests, peers, or the instructor. The instructor evaluates progress and provides scaffolding when necessary, but does not give answers.
  • Peer review/feedback
  • Instructor review/feedback
  • Practice quizzes give immediate feedback
  • Discussions
  • Games
Assess performance This is the final or summative assessment. By now, the students should have had practice and feedback to the degree that they should be ready for the summative assessment. Students receive no help during this phase. Summative assessment could come at the end of each learning module, at mid-term, or at the end of a course.
  • Finished Paper
  • Products
  • Quiz
  • Essay Exam
  • Presentation
  • Other
Enhance retention transfer to new situations This step helps the learners internalize the information.
  • Debrief the class on what has been learned
  • Summarize the learning that has occurred and apply it to a new situation
  • Evaluate their own learning experience
  • Write a reflection on their learning experience (Journaling)
  • Identify a new situation or application for the new knowledge


Last updated: 10/16/2018