Robert M Gagné

Heim Upp Instructional Design System Approach Robert M Gagné


 Robert M.Gagné(1916-)

As an instructional psychologist, Gagné was primarily interested in determining what knowledge and skills are required for a person to effectively perform a given job.

Gagne suggested that there are five categories of learning. Such categories can be formed because each leads to a different class of human performance and each requires a different set of instructional conditions for effective learning (Gagné. 1974). The categories are:

1.   Intellectual skills.  These skills are the capabilities that make the human individual competent.  They enable him to respond to conceptualizations of his environment.

2.   Cognitive strategies.  These skills are the ones that govern the individual capability to learn, think and remember.

3.   Verbal information.   Stored in our memory to recall when needed, such as names of months, days of week, letters, numeral e.t.a.

4.   Motor skills. The capability to learn: to ride a bike, drive a car, write, draw a straight line.

5.    Attitudes.   All of us possess attitudes of many sorts towards different things, persons and situations.  These attitudes may affect our position toward those things.

These categories of learned capabilities are distinctive categories that also require different arrangements of conditions in order for the learning of each to occur.

Within these various types of learning there must be nine general instructional events:

1.      Gaining attention. To ensure reception of coming instruction we give the learner a stimulus

2.      Tell the learners the learning objective. Tell the learner what they will be able to do because of the instruction

3.      Stimulating recall of prior learning. Ask for recall of existing relevant knowledge.

4.      Presenting the stimulus. Display the content.

5.      Providing learning guidance.

6.      Eliciting performance. Ask the learner to respond, demonstrating learning

7.      Providing feedback. Give informative feedback on the learner's performance.

8.      Assessing performance. Require more learner performance, and give feedback, to reinforce learning.

9.      Enhancing retention and transfer to other contexts. Provide varied practice to generalize the capability

Designing instruction would involve analyzing requirements, selecting media and designing the instructional events. Skills should be learned one at a time and lower level objectives must be mastered before higher-level objectives can be met. Objectives must be stipulated in concrete behavioral terms. Like Skinner he emphasizes use of positive reinforcement in a repetitive manner. When designing instruction, the analysis phase must identify and describe the prerequisite lower level skills and knowledge required for an instructional objective. Each new skill learned should build on previously acquired skills.

Gagné distinguished eight different classes of intellectual skills in which human beings learn.  These intellectual skills can be categorized on a dimension of complexity.  The more complex kinds of intellectual processing are based upon these simpler varieties (Gagné., Briggs., 1974).

1.      Signal Learning. The individual learns to make a general, diffuse response to a signal. Such was the classical conditioned response of Pavlov.

2.      Stimulus-Response Learning. The learner acquires a precise response to a discriminated stimulus.

3.      Chaining. A chain of two or more stimulus-response connections is acquired.

4.      Verbal Association. The learning of chains that are verbal.

5.      Discrimination Learning. The individual learns to make different identifying responses to many different stimuli that may resemble each other in physical appearance.

6.      Concept Learning. The learner acquires a capability of making a common response to a class of stimuli.

7.      Rule Learning.  A rule is a chain of two or more concepts.

8.      Problem Solving. A kind of learning that requires the internal events usually called thinking (Gagné., Briggs., 1992).


Gagne's work has contributed greatly the field of instructional technology especially regarding the design of instruction. According to Gagné the following steps should be clearly thought out when designing instruction.


1. Identify the types of learning outcomes

2. Each outcome may have prerequisite knowledge or skills that must be identified.

3. Identify the internal conditions or processes the learner must have to achieve the outcomes.

4. Identify the external conditions or instruction needed to achieve the outcomes.

5. Specify the learning context.

6. Record the characteristics of the learners.

7. Select the media for instruction.

8. Plan to motive the learners.

9.      The instruction is tested with learners in the form of formative evaluation.

10.  After the instruction has been used, summative evaluation is used the judge the effectiveness of the instruction.

Evaluation of courses, programs and instructional programs usually has the following questions in mind:

1)      Have the objectives of instruction been met

2)      Is  the new program better than the previous one

3)      What additional effects does the new program produce.(Gagné., Briggs., 1992)

Formative evaluation is undertaken while the new unit is being developed.  The purpose is to supply data on feasibility and efficiency to develop and improve the course.

Summative evaluation is concerned with the effectiveness of the course or program regarding the student’s performance. Based on the students performance measures are taken of the kind of student capabilities the program is intended to establish.

Although objectively analyzing the condition for learning Gagné says: “Since the purpose of instruction is learning, the central focus for rational derivation of instructional techniques is the human learner.  Development of rationally sound instructional procedures must take into account learner characteristics such as initiate capacities, experimental maturity, and current knowledge states.  Such factors become parameters of the design of any particular program of instruction” (Gagné.1987.p.5)



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