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 the London School of Economics the 3E Framework was applied in reviewing course provision with in their Virtual Learning Environment in 2016/2017 to identify enhancements for implementation in 2017/18 https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lti/2017/05/15/moodle-recharge/
  • The University of Saskatchewan, Canada, have applied the 3E Framework in similar ways to the above, as captured in the paper “Enhance, extend, empower: Understanding faculty use of elearning Technologies” http://headconf.org/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/5508.pdf (see also the example further below relating to the University of Saskatchewan using the 3E Framework to support adult learners to engage effectively in online learning environments)
  • 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.
  • At York St John University the design of the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in based on the 3E Framework with each module of the three modules that comprise the programme aligning respectively with the Enhance, Extend and Empower stages of the 3E continuum https://www.yorksj.ac.uk/media/content-assets/registry/programme-specifications/postgraduate/education-and-teacher-education/teacher-education/1718/PGCert-Academic-Practice.pdf

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.


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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