Friday, May 30, 2014

Triple E Framework: Integrating technology to meet learning goals

As a teacher educator, I spent the past decade struggling to help my pre-service and in-service teachers understand the difference between randomly using flashy technology in lessons and integrating technology with a purpose towards enhancing the learning goals.  We talk about the philosophical model of what how we should be thinking about integrating technology in the classroom (TPCK), yet it is purely a theoretical framework without a clinical core.  TPCK does not give any specifics on exactly what technological, pedagogical and content knowledge looks like in the classroom.  There have been other frameworks that have tried to fill in this gap such as ADDIE and SAMR.  Both of these models focus more on “how” the technology is being used to modify or change the traditional teaching.  For example, in SAMR, the focus for the technology in the model is about how the technology is replacing or modifying a teaching tool (such as a Google document being used to modify a traditional worksheet).  These are helpful models.  However, we are missing a necessary framework. 

Triple E: Framework
When I work with teachers their main struggle is to keep focused on the learning goals.  Thus, it is necessary to have a framework that involves TPCK but with a focus on how the technological, pedagogical content knowledge is changing the student's interactions with their learning goals.  This is why I developed the Triple E Framework.  I wrote about this framework in ISTE's May 2013's Learning and Leading.  This framework is used to help teachers focus on how technology is meeting and possibly exceeding the learning goals.  I have been using this simple framework with both in-service and pre-service teachers for over three years now and have found that it has given them guidance for making careful and purposeful choices about the technology in their classrooms.  I wanted to share the framework here in hopes that others would find it useful.

The framework has three levels:

Engagement into the learning goals
The most basic level is engagement.  Digital technologies tend to "engage" or get students excited about the learning activity, simply because they are digital.  While this is often the reason why educators say they integrate technology, engagement with technology does not necessary have a large effect on the student’s learning.  But it is a start, a way “into” the content.
  • Does the technology help student's engage in learning about the content?
  • Does the technology help student's focus their attention on the content?
  • Does the technology help move student's from passive to active learners in the content?

Enhancement of the learning goals
It is important that teachers look beyond engagement and into how the technology tools can enhance the learning goals. Enhancement considers how well the technology tools are helping students meet the learning goals and possibly enhance the learning goals. 
  • Does the technology help students develop a more sophisticated understanding of the content?
  • Does the technology create a way to make it easier for the students to understand or interact with the content?
  • Does the technology allow students to demonstrate an understanding of the content that they could not do without traditional tools?

Extension of the learning goals
The final level is to extend the learning in the real world.  Extension considers how the technology bridges learning inside of the classroom into student's everyday lives.
  • Does the technology help students learn outside of the school day?
  • Does the technology help student's bridge their school learning with their everyday lives?
  • Does the technology help student's gain skills to become independent life-long learners?

Put the framework to work!  
Below are three different scenarios of social studies teachers who have the same learning goals but choose to use technology differently to meet the goals.  After reading each scenario complete the form according to which of the Triple E levels were met (remember it's about how the learning goals were or were not met via the technology).  The forms are set up so you can see what everyone else answered after you complete your answers!  

Learning Goals:  
1)  To understand the purpose of the 2nd Amendment and how it can be interpreted differently by people.  
2)  To understand how to use evidence to support an argument.

Scenario #1:

Scenario #2:

Scenario #3:
Creative Commons License
Triple E Framework by Liz Kolb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at


Anonymous said...

Hi Liz,
I feel you or your Graduate Student did not see the error of inserting two (2) sets of ENGAGEMENT QUESTIONS for each of the three Scenarios. Also it looks like the responses are not being monitored so I am not going to leave my name and email. I would have deleted ALL but maybe one of the comments as inappropriate. . . and that happened on other posts as well.

Triple E Framework Scenario I
Engagement - duplicate

Triple E Framework Scenario 2
Engagement - duplicate

Triple E Framework Scenario 3
Engagement - duplicate

I appreciate the detailed, insightful and useful information you posted. I am taking a non-college credit course for Professional Development to acquaint me with the use of numerous new forms of new media for evangelization and teaching religion. Your books and this website have been helpful in understanding the challenge K-12 Librarian

Professor Anderson said...

Great post! This has helped me out so much. Thanks for sharing!

Ikarian said...

I think the concepts presented here are spot on. Eventually, the bandwidth that is available within our school's context will be able to support strategic and comprehensive use of this under ultulized resource.

Disclaimers and Other Information about this blog. The information on the blog may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up to date. The opinions expressed on the blog are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of anyone or any institution associated with the author. Links to external sources in the blog posts are provided solely as a courtesy to our blog visitors. All of the links on the sidebar under "recommended links" are links that the author believes to possibly have benefit in K-12 teaching and learning. All other sidebar links are related to cell phones and/or education but not necessary recommended as a K-12 learning resource by the author, some may be sponsor links and/or paid for image/banner ads. The author does not do paid reviews for her blog posts about web resources.Please contact Liz at for any inquires regarding this blog.
Creative Commons License Cell Phones in Learning by Liz Kolb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at