Overcoming Resistance to Classroom Clickers using Keller’s ARCS Model
New technologies are being introduced in academia and the workplace each day. With this onslaught of innovations comes the growing demand to keep the pace for many in education and corporations. Oftentimes, however, the introduction of new technology presents a type of angst for those who are required to use it. Apprehension for some, particularly in education, is driven by the notion that the technology is simply another mandate passed down from administrators to practitioners, thus touting the “latest and greatest.” Others may express resentment because of a perceived increased workload inherent in introducing new technology. Still, another group may be resentful because the diffusion of innovations in the past may have been difficult or unsuccessful. Regardless of the reasons educators present for resistance to new technology, challenges and barriers exist.
An example of this resistance to new technology occurred about four years ago when classroom clickers were proposed in freshmen composition classrooms. In an effort to increase student participation and student engagement classroom clickers were adopted. Classroom clickers allow students to respond to questions posed by their teacher during discussion which is then tracked or transferred to the teacher’s computer. In this way, teachers can ensure that each learner participates and is engaged. In a classroom of 30 or more students, it is often difficult to assess which students are engaged as lively discussions move forward with students who regularly actively participate. For students who are otherwise shy, classroom clickers encourage participation because of the game-like format. Clickers are about the size of a remote control, which students simply push to respond to the prompt or question of their choice.
In order to change the attitudes of imposed mandates and increased workload, as well as the behaviors of resistance to the challenges new technology brings, Keller’s ARCS (Attention, Relevance, Satisfaction and Confidence) model could be used to boost self- efficacy. Two components specifically, Relevance and Confidence can be used to target the above-mentioned challenges. First, allaying instructor’s ambivalence to the value of clickers to the subject matter is needed which(Keller, 1987, p. 55) described can assist in building the relevance of the technology. In this way, the perception that the technology is a driven mandate can be subsided. In addition, the confidence concept can be supported by showing that using the technology as an instructional strategy matches the needs of students. Keller (1987) argued that modeling enthusiasm for the subject matter to increase motivation extending relevance among people can be achieved by relating subject matter to future experiences learners of learners (p. 56).
In an effort to shoulder up confidence, Keller (1987) encouraged those integrating technology to be mindful that highly confident individuals will persist in learning while those with low confidence may give up. This notion echoes Rogers (2003) sentiments that users need the ability to experiment with an innovation, a sort of trial and error. With this in mind, giving teachers the ability to observe how well the innovation is working for others before it is adopted can be used to boost confidence. Rogers (2003) explained that “the personal trying out of an innovation is one way for an individual to give meaning to an innovation and to find out how it works under one’s own conditions” (p. 258). Rogers added that when members in a social system easily perceive how the innovation is observed, communicated, and described, it has a positive impact on adoption. Embracing technology for corporations, institutions as well as individuals, in part, lies not only in the innovativeness of the technology but also in the attitude of the institution or company adopting it. As such, building confidence among users and learners is an essential to success.
That’s my take, Linette
Check out this interesting blog on the rapid adoption of clickers in higher ed. http://www.blogher.com/using-clickers-university-classroom
Here’s a link to a YouTube video demonstrating effective classroom facilitation of using Clickers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_iWo9Xba54
Brooks, L. (2009, March 8). Using clickers in the university classroom [Web log post]
Chasteen, S. (2013, December 30). Effective Facilitation of Clickers in the Classroom: Faculty Workshop. Retrieved from
Keller, J. M. (1987). Development and use of the ARCS model of motivational design. Journal of Instructional Development, 10(3), 2-10. Retrieved from
Rogers, E.M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations. (5th ed.). New York, NY. Free Press.