Robert Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction

Robert Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction


A way of structuring an instructional experience to maximize the amount of learning taking place.


Most instructors say, “Students need to learn about x” or “I need to cover x amount of information with my students.” But the mind is not a vessel to be filled, the way you can fill a pitcher with water. The great educational theorist Robert M. Gagné (1916-2002) discovered that learning happens most effectively and efficiently when the mind is activated and attention is sustained in certain ways. He created a structure that he called “the nine events of learning” to describe how this process takes place for most learners.




  1. Gain attention: Present a stimulus to ensure reception of the instruction.
  2. Describe the learning objective: What will the learner gain from the instruction?
  3. Stimulate recall of prior learning: Ask for recall of existing relevant knowledge.
  4. Present the stimulus: Display the content.
  5. Provide learning guidance: Provide coaching on how to learn.
  6. Elicit performance (provide practice): Learners respond to demonstrate knowledge.
  7. Provide feedback: Give informative feedback on the learner’s performance.
  8. Assess performance: More performance and more feedback, to reinforce information.
  9. Enhance retention and transfer to other contexts: Provide additional problems for practice and reinforcement.


Students learn most from events 6 and 7: practice and feedback. Instructors who focus on providing practice and feedback to their students realize the largest gains in learning.



  • Beginner



Don Clark has a nice explanation:


Read about Gagné’s life and work. He wrote many books that are well worth reading, esp The Conditions of Learning.

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