Grabbing the Learners’ Attention – Learning from Gagne

According to Gagne drawing the learners’ attention to learn something is the first step in a learning exercise. While designing e-learning courses, including attention grabbers in the form of stories, exercises, thought- provoking questions, smart animations and images will kindle the learners’ curiosity and heighten their interest to learn more.

More than a year back, I was involved in designing an e-Learning course on Etiquette and Behaviour. I wanted a striking introduction that would immediately interest the learners to explore more on the subject. Lots of ideas came to mind. Some of them were:

  • A quotation on etiquette
  • A story stressing the importance of etiquette
  • A simple introduction to etiquette

I was not convinced with any of these ideas. Finally I came up with a samll interactive exercise. I have published the attention grabber I designed for the course and jotted down some thoughts on the activity below:

Excerpts from the Storyboard

Take a look at the pictures and spot the error in behaviour.

Hurry! You have just 10 seconds to go for each picture. Spot it before the answer appears.

Note: The heading and the image would appear first. After 10 seconds the text below the image will appear.All four images will appear and disappear in a single screen

At a business gathering


Oops! A young man is trying to shake hands with a traditional lady. Probably he should have waited for her to offer her hand first.

At a dinner with the client


The client is gaping at the businessman’s act of eating voraciously with his hands. Probably he shouldn’t have done that.

At a business meeting


Aren’t the people being too noisy? The lady needs to pick her handkerchief. And the people need to keep off their mobiles for sometime.

At a discussion with the client



Here is this young man’s mobile phone ringing at an important meeting with the client. Shouldn’t he have switched it off before coming in?

Some thoughts…

In this activity, the images depict scenes from daily life. Therefore learners might easily relate to it. The activity is game based. So there are high chances that this might enthuse learners. At the end of the activity learners are likely to realize how important etiquette and behaviour is in day to day life. Thus there are more chances that they might explore further.

Final Words

While storyboarding make sure you include ample attention grabbers. After all you need to make the learners stay tuned to the course.


One Response

  1. […] post also reminded me of my post on Attention Grabbers which I wrote sometime back. Instead of starting a course with learning objectives, it is a good […]

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