Introduction to the 3Ps

The 3Ps model is a learning framework that:

  • gives clarity to students about what their learning involves
  • helps staff create engaging and authentic learning experiences

The three Ps are Prepare, Participate and Practise. This article explains the 3Ps and gives suggestions for implementing them at a module level.


Students will get the most out of their face-to-face sessions if they prepare for them in advance.

What you can do:

Give students the framework to help them understand how each module fits into their programme. This will help them manage their time, understand what they need to achieve, and know what to do in advance of each session.


Use the FET Blackboard module template. It is easier for students to find the information they need if it is in the same place in each module they are studying.

Under Module Information:

  • Include the learning outcomes for the module. How will your students know if they are successful?
  • Include a teaching schedule which outlines the different topics. Let students know what their learning activities will consist of, both in class and independently.
  • Introduce the technologies and tools that will be used on the module.

Under Learning Materials:

  • Include your Session Study Plans. These are key to helping your students prepare for a face-to-face session.
  • Organise your files, videos, presentations, links and other learning materials in a coherent way and include a description for each so that students know what it is, when it will be needed and how to use it.
  • Set active tasks to help students prepare for topics and upcoming sessions (e.g. ‘watch this and answer these questions’, or ‘read this and draw a diagram to explain it’).

Under Assignments:

  • Include all the details of summative assignments. Students should understand how their final mark will be made up, when each component is due and the specific requirements for each assessed piece of work (including how it should be submitted).


A lot of learning comes from interaction; students get the most from their learning when they interact with others on collaborative tasks (projects, discussions etc.) and when they interact with learning materials.

What you can do:

Make the most of face-to-face time by allowing students to ask questions, work in groups, collaborate, discuss, debate, present and give feedback to each other. Set tasks that require learner to work together and create spaces and opportunities for interaction outside the classroom as well – help learning communities to form where students can support and learn from each other, as well as have an overall sense of the discipline and their place in it.


Make participation safe.

  • Create a cohort identity and rapport between students through induction activities and icebreakers.
  • Respect everyone’s contribution, and ensure other students do the same – be mindful of issues of inclusivity.
  • Encourage an atmosphere of curiosity and experimentation, where mistakes are allowed.
  • Consider using anonymous methods of contribution, such as Mentimeter polls.
  • Celebrate successes and showcase students’ work.

Make the most of the digital tools available, both in class and outside taught sessions.

  • Mentimeter allows students to take polls, ask questions and contribute ideas anonymously, in real time in classes or webinars, or asynchronously.
  • Tools such as Padlet and Miro let students share their work and comment on each other’s contributions.
  • Microsoft Teams can be used to create a collaborative space where students can use text chat or video calls, share files and co-author documents.
  • Blackboard discussion boards can be used in a structured way to elicit student contributions, or more informally for peer support and discussing topics.

Consider new teaching methods and assessments.

  • Explore ways of getting students to support each other’s learning, such as peer feedback or the Jigsaw method.
  • Consider assessment methods such as presentations, posters or video submissions, where students can witness and learn from each other’s work.
  • Look into different group work models, such as Teams-based or Problem-based learning.


Students will learn better when they have the opportunity to apply their knowledge.

What you can do:

Make sure your module includes opportunities for activities such as problem-solving, practical work, field work, connections with employers and industry, live projects and authentic assessment. Help students take a holistic view of their learning by making connections not only between topics, but to relevant work experience, volunteering, participation in societies and other extra-curricular activities.


Include active learning, so that students are working with the knowledge and information to make it their own rather than passively receiving it.

  • Make lectures interactive with questions, polling, think-pair-share activities etc.
  • Chunk your material – whether written, video or audio, concentrate on one concept in each segment and follow it with an activity (e.g. MCQs).
  • Consider using a flipped approach.
  • Provide regular opportunities for students to practice retrieving knowledge from their memory (e.g. quizzes or ‘minute papers’).

Make sure students get regular and timely constructive feedback so that their practice can develop.

  • Use well-designed rubrics in formal assessments.
  • Consider using online formative tests where students can receive automated feedback.
  • Support students to give and receive constructive peer feedback.
  • Set practical tasks where feedback is intrinsic.
  • Set tasks that require students to reflect on and act on feedback they receive.

Show how the module relates to the real world.

  • Use case studies and have students work on authentic problems.
  • Invite guest speakers from industry.
  • Assess students in ways that are applicable to the workplace, such as presentations, emails, reports or portfolios, rather than controlled-conditions examinations and essays.


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash