The PAF Model

As far as I’m concerned, using a basic lesson structure of some kind is what makes a lesson teachable.  There are several schools of thought out there, but what I like to follow is the PAF model for systematic learning.  This was taught to me by Instructors from Friesen, Kaye and AssociatesPAF stands for Presentation, Application, and Feedback.  I find that it’s easy to implement in your design because of its simplicity, yet it is very effective.

During the Presentation phase, the instructor teaches the new knowledge or skills.  During the Presentation you typically include some type of introduction which will include the what’s in it for me (WIIFM) for the students as well as some test for understanding to ensure that the knowledge or skill has been transferred.

Application is simply the time given to the learner to practice what they have learned.  Although likely the simplest step in the process, Application is by far the most important.  As far back as Aristotle we know that we learn by doing.

Feedback is needed to build the confidence in your learners who are performing well and to assist those that require further help.

Each stage should represent about 1/3rd of the lesson time.  Depending on the exercises that you introduce in a lesson, you can often combine Application and Feedback to occur simultaneously.  This allows for more time to be applied to the Application and it allows for correcting or reinforcing behaviours as they happen.

Most training that is considered boring or ineffective by the learners, likely did not have sufficient time allocated to the Application and Feedback phases.  Instead it relied too much on Presentation. Using this model keeps you on point.  It’s easy for a passionate instructor to ramble on, especially if the topic is one of personal interest. 

There are other models of lesson design out there; however some can be rather complicated to easily remember.  PAF keeps things simple and therefore far more likely to be used properly.