The Time Continuum Model of Motivation is primarily focused on the role which motivation plays at different stages of the learning process. Raymond J. Wlodkowski has devoted a great deal of thought to motivation and the adult learner. In general, he believes one should look for four aspects in any instruction (Wlodkowski, 1989):

  1. Value – Is the learning important?
  2. Appeal – How stimulating is the learning?
  3. Perseverance – How well do students maintain their involvement?
  4. Are other environmental factors clamoring for attention?

Perseverance is greater when these distractions can be blocked out. Atkinson and Birch’s Dynamic Action Theory (1970) claims that in a given point in time, there are many incomplete actions the individual needs to complete. All are scrambling for priority. This can cause a breakdown in perseverance.

Continuing motivation – Using what was learned outside the learning experience. This can be tied to enhancing retention and transfer – showing students how to do this, at least initially.

While motivation is one of these four aspects, it is not as clearly defined as it is in his Time Continuum Model of Motivation:

Time Continuum Model of Motivation:

• Before Instruction

  • – Attitude
  • – Need

• During Instruction

  • – Stimulation
  • – Affect

• After Instruction

  • – Competence
  • – Reinforcement

Positive attitudes are established by clearly stating the goals of the course, using clear examples, and stating the criteria for evaluation. Adult learner needs are addressed by reducing or removing environmental components that lead to failure. Chances are provided to practice using a newly acquired skill or piece of knowledge before it is assessed. Assistance should always be available.

Most adult learners at the beginning of a learning sequence will ask “Do I need it?” and “What do I think of it?” These internal needs and attitudes interact with the stimulation and affective processes that occur during instruction.

To maintain learner attention, provide a variety of activities and different presentation techniques that stimulate the learner. Make sure the learner is an active participant in the learning process. To maintain positive attitudes, utilize cooperative goal and learning structures to maximize cohesiveness in the learning group. By maintaining learner attention and a positive attitude, the learner’s effort to continue learning is maintained.

Increase learner competence by making the learner aware of progress towards goals via positive feedback. Include the progress towards mastery and demonstrate how the learner is responsible for his/her own learning. This reinforcement provides a strong motivational influence for continued/future learning.

ARCS Model vs Time Continuum Model

Attention vs Value = arousing and sustaining curiosity and interest
Relevance vs Appeal = strategies that link to needs, interest and motives
Confidence vs Perseverance = positive expectations and involvement of students
Satisfaction vs Continuing Motivation = extrinsic & intrinsic reinforcement for effort

  • Time Continuum Model is the prescriptive model, which sets different motivational strategies to specific intervals of learning process.
  • ARCS Model is the method of systematically designing motivation strategies into instructions.

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