The Instruction Cube: Paradigm to Analyze the Efficiency of Instruction (PAEI)


A Learners’ View (ALV) Is Of Choices On The Shortest And Fastest Path To Learning, The Oxygen Of Social Life.

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This page describes application of patterns teachers use to plan and instruct lesson.

Teaching as Instruction: a. Managing the learning of others. b. Managing the risk of failure by novices to meet learning criterion of a lesson. c. Behavioral processes used to change behavior patterns of learners. d. Sequences of descriptions and discussions intended to increase the rate of adoption, adaptation, maintenance, and extension of a behavior pattern by novices. e. An effort to support learners’ survival.

Efficiency of Instruction: a. The rate that instruction changes behavior patterns to those used by the most informed people in a society. b. Lessons requiring fewer trials-and-errors and fewer learner’s resources such as time, effort, and energy to reach a learning criterion. c. The power, skill of instruction to reduce waste and other risks of failure a learner encounters in a lesson.

Analyze Efficiency of Teaching: a. Examining the management of learning . b. Analyzing behavior patterns of learning during a lesson and comparing them against each other and against external criteria in order to calculate the relative waste and risks of failure of learners to meet criterion. c. A way to assess costs in time, effort, and tangibles a learner pays for completing a lesson. d. A way to assess the adequacy of instruction and instructional material to yield expected results.

The Instruction Cube (TIC): A Paradigm to Analyze the Efficiency of Instruction (PAEI): a. An infrastructure of behavior patterns of learners that instructors may use to limit trial-and-error of learners. b. Empirical experimental behavioral science research descriptions of efficient instruction. c. A framework of behavioral science descriptions and relationships among behavior patterns people use to instruct. d. A framework to assess the extent to which lessons promptly increase learning dramatically.


The Instruction Cube (TIC) describes from a learners’ view why choices in planning and instruction of good teachers can result in failure of learners to learn. Good teachers stumble during instruction for many reasons over which they have no control. TIC addresses choices over which teachers do have control during planning and instruction of lessons.

Behavioral and social scientists have demonstrated that teachers’ choices that match instruction with a learners’ view of learning increases learning promptly and dramatically. These increases sometimes occur in spite of conditions over which teachers have no control. Other choices for instruction do not increase learning.

For purposes of TIC, education software and other media developers intending to increase learning serve as teachers, lesson planners, and instructors.


The Instruction Cube (TIC) represents a learners’ view of a lesson. Learners use trials-and-errors to try to find answers in each lesson to two questions, What do I have to do? and How do I do it?

TIC consists of three dimensions of choices teachers make when planning and instructing a lesson. These three dimensions interact as eight generic ways that instruction and a learners’ view do and do not match.

Learners are more likely to complete a lesson successfully when instruction answers learners’ two primary questions. In this way, instruction matches part of a learners’ view. When a match does not occur, learning does not occur.

It follows logically from a learners’ view that a lesson was not offered when learning does not result, regardless of what an instructor, learner, or software package has done during their interactions with each other.

The Three Dimensions of TIC

The three dimensions of The Instruction Cube (TIC) consist of the three sets of essential behavior patterns that learners use to complete a lesson successfully. Each dimension also includes an optional set of instructional choices that do not give priority to these behavior patterns. Each set of each dimension consists of a spreadsheet of instructional options.

The intersection of rows and columns from these three spreadsheets forms TIC.

             The TIC Figure
              about here

Dimension 1: Theme of the Lesson

Instructors decide whether to give priority (1a) to the process of instruction or (1b) to the content of the lesson. Process describes what a learner must do first, second, etc. to meet the criterion for learning the lesson. Content describes the vocabulary and the logic for relating that vocabulary to meet lesson criterion.

Dimension 2: Focus of the Lesson

Instructors decide whether to give to priority (2a) to description of the content or (2b) to discussion about the lesson. Descriptions of a lesson enumerate and emphasize how learners meet criterion. Discussions about a lesson include explanations, opinions, and reasons for the criterion and steps to meet it.

Dimension 3: Results of the Lesson

Instructors decide whether to give priority (3a) to reducing calculated risks of the lesson failing to increase measured learning or (3b) to the use of teacher-judgment of the success of a lesson. Descriptions of risks of failure begin with counting and recording something during a lesson and comparing that record with a standard for no risk of failure. Teacher judgment of the success of a lesson consists of no tangible record of learners meeting criterion or why they did not meet it.

The TIC Figure also illustrates eight generic sets of choices for instruction that result from these intersections. Choices made by lesson planners and instructors can result in instruction ranging from learner-initiated trials-and-errors to prescribed direct instruction and direct learning.

These choices influence the efficiency of learning. Observers can use the eight sets of choices to track how closely each lesson plan and its instruction does or does not result in learners meeting a learning criterion.

Related Reading

  1. The Instruction Cube (TIC): A Paradigm to Analyze the Efficiency of Instruction (PAEI) Lecture Notes.
  2. Dimension 1: Lesson Theme – Process or Content.
  3. Dimension 2: Instruction Focus – Descriptions of or Discussions about
  4. Dimension 3: Planned Results – Managed Risks of Failure or Other.
  5. Eight Options for Instruction.
  6. Three TIC Strategies for Instruction.
  7. Lesson Plans as Protocols for Instruction.
  8. Instruction Protocols.
  9. The Learning Quotient (TLQ) and Observation Forms.
  10. Calculating the Efficiency of Instruction with TIC.
  11. TIC Checklist to Plan Instruction.
  12. Implications of TIC.
  13. Analysts of Instruction.
  14. Instructor as Self-Analyst of Instruction.
  15. Electronic Technology as Analyst of Instruction.
  16. Discussion of TIC ETAP.
  17. Unit 5.5: Assessment

Related Resources

  1. The Instruction Cube (TIC): A Paradigm to Analyze the Efficiency of Instruction (PAEI) Lecture Notes
  2. TIPSheets
  3. Links to Electronic Media Related to TIC PAEI
  4. A Learners’ View
  5. Learning
  6. Reading Guides
  7. Worksheets

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Robert Heiny
Robert W. Heiny, Ph.D. is a retired professor, social scientist, and business partner with previous academic appointments as a public school classroom teacher, senior faculty, or senior research member, and administrator. Appointments included at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peabody College and the Kennedy Center now of Vanderbilt University; and Brandeis University. Dr. Heiny also served as Director of the Montana Center on Disabilities. His peer reviewed contributions to education include publication in [I]The Encyclopedia of Education [/I](1971), and in professional journals and conferences. He served s an expert reviewer of proposals to USOE, and on a team that wrote plans for 12 state-wide and multistate special education and preschools programs. He currently writes user guides for educators and learners as well as columns for [I]TuxReports[/I].com.