Why Get Your Learners’ Attention

As the learner prepares to start a web-based lesson, he/she may be distracted with daily life. These distractions make it difficult to focus on the topic and decrease the likelihood that the learner will absorb the new information. He/She may be thinking about the driver who cut them off that morning or whom they will get to pick up their child from daycare.

In order to learn something new, the learner must be receptive and ready to focus on the content. Gaining the learner’s attention is the first condition outlined in Robert Gagne’s, an educational psychologist, nine instructional events. Gagne’s nine instructional events provide a framework for developing a structured learning event and are necessary conditions required for learning to take place. The attention getter peaks the learner’s curiosity about the lesson and gets him/her ready to focus on the topic.

10 Attention Getting Ideas

Below are 10 ideas for gaining the learner’s attention in a web-based lesson created in an authoring tool like Adobe Captivate or Articulate Storyline. For these ideas to work, they must be related to the topic and relevant to the learner.

  1. Play a short video that evokes the learner’s emotion.
  2. Create a compelling story to introduce the topic.
  3. Pose a question that challenges the learner’s perception.
  4. Present a surprising statistic.
  5. Start with a compelling image or animation.
  6. Add engaging introduction music.
  7. Display an interesting quotation.
  8. Present a current news event.
  9. Use humor; tell a joke or show a cartoon.
  10. Provide a thoughtful case study.

These are just a few examples you can use to gain your learners’ attention. Attention getting ideas are only limited by your imagination. So get creative and experiment with new ideas.


“Conditions of Learning (Robert Gagne).”, accessed November 14, 2017.

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