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 (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).

I originally developed the 3E Framework as the 3E Approach, which was a tool to guide Further and Higher Education lecturers in redesigning one or more of their courses within the context of the cross-institutional TESEP project (see Projects page). The revised and expanded adaptation of the 3E Approach that became the 3E Framework was then developed and published under Creative Commons in late 2011 as the basis for Edinburgh Napier’s Benchmark for the Use of Technology in Modules.


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

Since being made available through Creative Commons the 3E Framework, and the associated guidance and resources, have begun to be 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, gathered under the headings of 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 recently revalidated Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in Higher Education uses the 3E Framework as the underpinning curriculum design model to support progression within the programme, and to assess learning through a Patchwork Text that aligns with the 3E’s.
  • 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, most recently 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

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.

Many of those who are using the 3E Framework are openly sharing what they have done with it, including publishing their own versions and resources under open licences. There are plans ahead to evaluate various implementations of the 3E Framework to bring together and inform further guidance and tools that may be of use to educational institutions, academic development units, course teams, and individual educators.


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)

If the 3E Framework and related resources look like they may be of use to you, or your institution, please feel free to adapt and reuse subject to the CC license they’re made available under (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License). If you’re happy to come back and share what you do with the framework, or want to discuss how you might try to use it, then that’s even better.

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