myQuest AFT Learning Model - Triggers to Increase Motivation

Posted on
September 2, 2018

The AFT learning model was designed based on more than six years of experience delivering online educational programs. The model is made up of three factors: Action, Feedback, and Trigger. This article will cover the benefits of triggers and their importance in an online learning journey.

But first, what does ‘trigger’ mean when it comes to online learning?

Trigger is anything that makes the student go back to the course and take the next action. The purpose of triggers is to keep students engaged throughout the course and make sure they don’t fall behind.

What type of triggers can be used in online courses?

There are several types of triggers that you can use to keep students active during the course:

Push notifications

Push notifications are a great way to re-engage students, as they are sent directly to students’ smartphones and there’s no way they’ll miss them. For example, a push notification can be sent when receiving an email from the learning system. That way, learners are reminded of the training and are prompted to go back and complete the next action.


When emailing students during the course, a sense of personal connection is created and there’s an increase in motivation. Making the emails relevant to where the student is currently at, as well as using them to remind the student to get back to the course, can significantly increase the engagement rate.


Ask students to set reminders on their phones that will remind them to take action. For example, learners can set an alarm that will ring every morning at 9am and remind them to take 5 minutes to make progress in their course. Reminders are a powerful way to form new habits and stay on track.


Why are triggers so important?

One of the problems of online learning is that students are usually all by themselves, and no one is holding them accountable. This type of learning experience can lead to isolation, lack of motivation, and increased chances of dropping out.

When adding triggers to the learning experience on a regular basis, students feel more connected to the course and are constantly reminded to go back to it and complete their next steps. In addition, when triggers are sent at the right time (for example, after a step is completed), students feel as if someone is there with them to hold their hand and encourage them.

Triggers are there to imitate the role of a real-life coach, and are meant to encourage and motivate students just like a coach would. When setting triggers up, it’s of vital importance to send them on relevant times and occasions.

How to create effective triggers

When creating triggers for your course or training, you need to make sure that they are personalized and are based on the student’s progress. Triggers that are too generic and don’t seem personal to the student, might come off as annoying rather than helpful.

Here at myQuest we run hundreds of tests around the subject of triggers, and are working to find the most beneficial ways to trigger users to keep engaging with the course.

How triggers are sent on the myQuest platform

Based on the AFT (Action, Feedback, Trigger) learning model, the myQuest platform puts a strong emphasis on triggers and their value to users.

As timely messages are one of the most powerful triggers, myQuest allows you to send automatic email messages to students at the right time.  Thanks to myQuest’s ‘Rule Engine’, instructors can pre-define email messages based on the following:

  • Student completed a ‘Mission’ (action)
  • Student completed a ‘Level’ (module)
  • Student received feedback from the coach or from other students
  • Student didn’t log in to the course for a while
  • A message or response was sent to the student
  • A daily reminder to complete a Mission or a Habit
  • And more

Every time an AFT cycle (action, feedback, trigger) is completed, the student is triggered to take the next action and a new cycle begins. The more the student goes through the AFT cycle, the more inertia is built and the bigger the effect of the loop is.

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