3E Framework

The 3E (Enhance, Extend, Empower) Framework is intended to provide educators and those supporting them with guidance and examples across a range of learning, teaching and assessment activities that show how technology can be harnessed to increase active learning opportunities (Enhance), and to underpin increasingly more sophisticated learning activities that reflect how knowledge is created, shared and applied in professional and other contexts (Extend and Empower).


Screenshot from the interactive version of 3E Framework at Edinburgh Napier University

I originally developed the 3E Framework as the 3E Approach, to help Further and Higher Education lecturers in redesigning one or more of their courses within the context of the cross-institutional TESEP (Transforming and Enhancing the Student Experience through Pedagogy) project. The expanded adaptation of the 3E Approach that became the 3E Framework was first published under Creative Commons in late 2011 as the basis for Edinburgh Napier University’s Benchmark for the Use of Technology in Modules.

Since first being made available through Creative Commons the 3E Framework, and the associated guidance and resources, have been widely adapted in various ways by universities and other educational institutions within and beyond the UK.

A selection of example applications and adaptations of the 3E Framework are outlined below, under the headings institutional policy and guidance; developing, sharing and evaluating practice; curriculum design and development; and other applications.

Institutional policy and guidance

Developing, sharing and evaluating practice

  • The University of York applied the 3E Framework as an evaluation tool to gauge staff engagement with their Virtual Learning Environment and other technologies
  • Liverpool John Moore’s University has used the 3E Framework in their TEL Stories Project as a means of collecting and sharing effective practice in the use of TEL.
  • At Durham University the Learning Technologies team aligned their staff development provision with the 3E Framework to provide a ‘common language’ for promoting good TEL practice.
  • Initiatives at Edinburgh Napier University to embed the 3E Framework and use it as a means to recognise existing good practice while also informing future practice are outlined in the paper Smyth, K. (2013) Sharing and shaping effective institutional practice in TEL through the 3E Framework. In S. Greener (Ed) Case studies in e-learning. Reading: Academic Publishing International, pp.141-159.

Curriculum design and development

  • In Greece a government-funded education project led by Dr Panos Vlachopoulos applied the 3E Framework in helping Greek school teachers in the design of new technology-enhanced curricula.
  • The Learning and Teaching Centre at Macquarie University in Sydney have been using the 3E Framework to support their Design Develop Implement (DDI) initiative involving team-based approaches to learning innovation and programme design http://teche.ltc.mq.edu.au/design-develop-implement-team-based-approach/
  • At the University of Dundee the  Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in Higher Education uses the 3E Framework as the underpinning curriculum design model to support progression within the programme.
  • The use of the 3E Framework as the curriculum model for the MSc in Blended and Online Education at Edinburgh Napier University has been well documented, including in the book chapter Smyth, K., MacNeill, S. and Hartley, P. (2016) Technologies and academic development. In D. Baume and C. Popovic (Eds.) Advancing Practice in Academic Development. Routledge, pp.121-141.

Other applications

  • York St John University have developed contextualised guidance on how to use various features and activities within Moodle in ways that align with the 3E Framework. The Moodle and the 3E Framework blog post and associated video by Daniel Mackley (@danielmackley) provide a further explanation of this work.
  • David Walker (@drdjwalker) at the University of Sussex has been developing a version of the 3E Framework for assessment and feedback, and we are currently finalising a paper on this adaptation of the framework.
  • There are also some interesting examples in which the 3E Framework has been used by academics within their own practice. John Morrison from Edinburgh Napier is amongst them, and has been actively sharing his own work with the framework. See John’s blog post Extend and Empower -the Flipped Classroom: An application of student centred design principles, with emphasis on flipped learning approaches to a blended HE course, scaffolded on the 3E framework.
  • At the University of the West of Scotland, the design of learning spaces in new Lanarkshire Campus is based on their adaptation of the 3E Framework to physical and digital space as outlined in this recent 2018 blog post by Gordon Heggie https://lanarkshirelearninglandscapes.wordpress.com/2018/08/28/3e-framework/
  • Dr Vicki Squires at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, has been applying the 3E Framework in adult education contexts as outlined in the recent paper Squires, V. (2018) Using the 3E Framework in promoting adult learners’ success in online environments. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, Vol 64, No 2, pp. 126–140.

Several other institutions and projects are currently working on their own adaptations of the 3E Framework, and there are also cross-institutional initiatives in development.


Implementations of 3E Framework in policy and guidance (at York St John University, University of St Mark and St John Plymouth, Durham University, University of West London)


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