For students: The syllabus is to the course you are taking what the instruction book is to a video game, or the manual is to your driving test. Of course, in our day and age, many are used to situations in which you can just learn by doing and consult the instructions if and when you find you can’t figure it out yourself inductively. But until such time as you are taking a course that mirrors that approach, and lets you fail over and over again in the process of learning without it potentially making it impossible for you to pass the class, just start by reading the syllabus.
Ultimately, the syllabus is important information about a course. We should not, in my opinion, do anything to help students understand the importance of following directions, other than telling them to and then allowing them to suffer the consequences if they fail to do so. Any other approach will convey that it is we rather than they who are responsible for their education and their overall success or failure.