Have you heard of the PAF Model for instructional design? PAF—which stands for Presentation, Application, and Feedback—is a little-known instructional design model that defines how training content should be divided. The general rule of the PAF Model is that one-third of your course should be presentation of content, and two-thirds should be application (applying the skills taught in the course) and feedback (about the application of the skills).

Let’s take a closer look at each element of PAF.

Presentation Methods

Presentation methods cover how you deliver course content to learners. This part of the course is typically more passive for learners; they are taking in and absorbing the content. You can present content through many avenues, including:

  • Videos
  • Text
  • Images and graphics
  • Audio and narration

Application Methods

Application methods are how you give your learners an opportunity to apply course content. This part of the content involves the learner and requires their input or participation somehow. There are many ways to help learners apply content, such as:

  • Simulation
  • Scenario-based exercise
  • Practice exercise
  • Case study
  • Quiz
  • Game

Note that these are some of the most popular and well-known application methods, but by no means is this an exhaustive list. There are plenty of others as well.

Feedback Methods

Feedback methods are how you provide learners with feedback about how they applied the content in your course—specifically:

  • Videos
  • Text
  • Images and graphics
  • Audio and narration

Why are they the same methods as presentation? Well, just like your content, your feedback can be presented in various ways.

Are you surprised that the PAF Model calls for a larger proportion of the course to be spent on application and feedback rather than on presentation? That’s because people learn through doing and practical application! Take a look at your latest courses and ask yourself: am I spending more of my learner’s time on presentation than on activities? If yes, maybe consider looking at ways you can make your courses more dynamic and interactive for the learner.

What are your thoughts on the PAF Model? Have you heard of it before? Do you try to include more interactions than presentation? Let me know in the comments below!

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