Teaching, Engaging, and Motivating Learners Online Through Weekly, Tailored, and Relevant Communication

Academic Content, Information for the Course, and Motivation (AIM)


  • Andy Kenah Open Polytechnic of New Zealand
  • Catherine Nash Open Polytechnic of New Zealand




online learning, motivation, motivational emails, ARCS, engage, e-learning, economics, iQualify, nudge, online communication


Engaging and motivating learners to successfully complete their studies are crucial elements for the success of distance educators around the world. The researchers’ AIM newsletter, which is formatted in accordance with motivational learning theory, has been delivered to first-year learners in economics at Open Polytechnic of New Zealand from 2010 to 2022. AIM is an acronym for Academic content, Information for the course, and Motivation— three critical elements that are required to meet the challenges of effective online course facilitation. This paper uses Keller’s IMMS to evaluate the learner’s perspective of the AIM newsletter. Results show that learners consider AIM newsletter attracts the learner’s attention and provides relevant links between theory and current world examples, linking the learner’s own experiences, increasing their confidence in the course, and providing overall satisfaction with the learning experience. In essence, AIM newsletter provides an effective and efficient method of delivering and motivating learners throughout their studies.

Author Biographies

Andy Kenah, Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Andy Kenah is a senior academic staff member at Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. He holds a Master of Business Studies from Massey University and is a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia. Andy has been involved in distance education for over 20 years as a facilitator and programme leader, online learner, and researcher. His research interests include online teaching and training, learner motivation, and support.

Catherine Nash, Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Catherine Nash has been a senior academic staff member, Business Management, Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University and is a member of the New Zealand Association of Economists. Catherine has been involved in distance education for over 20 years as facilitator of economics and business courses, online learner, and researcher. Her research interests include enhancing learner engagement and motivation in an e-learning environment.

venn diagram for AIM



2023-02-14 — Updated on 2023-02-14