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Triple E Framework and Learner Variability Project: Implementing Research-Informed Technology Integration in Teaching and Learning Face-to-Face or Remotely

Triple E Framework GraphicWhile some of our most vulnerable learners are left behind due to lack of computers or internet connectivity, and we need to strive for policies to end the digital divide, the COVID-19 pandemic also has revealed the long-term staying power of teaching and learning in both brick-and-mortar and distance learning environments.

As a teacher educator preparing new and veteran teachers to use technology in learning, I know the magic sauce of technology integration is not found in the tool itself, rather the instructional strategies that teachers use in conjunction with the tool. 

In order to prepare new teachers to integrate technology to support blended learning, I show teachers how to use the Triple E Framework to evaluate how well a lesson is integrating technology using research-informed approaches. The Triple E Framework is a validated research-informed tool to assess how effectively the technology and the instructional strategies around the technology is helping to engage students in the learning goals, enhance students’ understanding of the learning goals, and extend students’ everyday connection to the learning goals. The Triple E Framework encourages teachers to ask three questions related to each E (engagement, enhancement, and extension) when designing or evaluating lessons with technology. As the teacher answers each question, a score is given, with each question receiving  a score between 0 and 2.  Ultimately the teachers’ lesson ends up with a total score in a range from 0 to 18.  The closer the score is to 18, the better connected the technology choices, instructional strategies, and learning goals are observed in a lesson. When a lesson has a score less than 13, teachers are encouraged to 1) reconsider the tool choice, and/or  2) consider adding research-based instructional strategies around the tool to help boost the score, thus making the technology tools and strategies around the tool better connected to the learning outcomes. 

To support teachers in brainstorming different tools and instructional strategies they can use in a lesson, I encourage them to use the Learner Variability Navigator (LVN), a Digital Promise free web app that uses a whole child, research-based  framework designed to address the needs of each individual. LVN also includes strategies teachers and edtech product developers can use to help ensure their practice and products are equipped to meet the needs of diverse learners.      

Teachers use the Learner Variability Navigator in two ways. The first method is in lesson development.

  1. First, when teachers in my course are developing a lesson and have a learning outcome in mind, I encourage them to go directly to LVN’s grade-level strategies and content areas they are working on. 
  2. Next, they are encouraged to select any factor that may be relevant to their learning goals or student needs (such as foundational writing skills or primary language). 
  3. Then, they will look over the suggested strategies, opening them up to learn more about the strategy, watching the video of the teacher using the strategy and consider whether the strategy can be used with technology and how it can be used.  Some strategies also include a technology-based approach (such as Word Walls, which includes a sample of how you could use the tool Padlet to engage digitally with this strategy). Thus, providing the teachers with ideas of strategies they can use in conjunction with digital tools as well as digital tools that integrate these research-based strategies. 

The second method is when teachers have already designed a lesson and scored it on the Triple E Framework.  When their lesson receives a score less than 13, they turn to the LVN to search for new strategies and/or tools.

  • In the video, I share how I use the Triple E Framework and LVN together to create powerful lessons in the classroom. To learn more about the strategies mentioned in this video check out this workspace.
  • In the video, I share how I use the Triple E Framework and LVN together to create powerful lessons for remote learning. You can review the strategies mentioned in the video in this LVN workspace.

Integrating the LVN with the Triple E Framework is a powerful way to support teachers in developing learning activities that put learning first and technology second in a way that truly allows the technology to engage, enhance, and extend the learning outcomes.  Further, for teachers who are teaching remotely, the combination of the Triple E Framework and LVN is extremely helpful in identifying strategies and tools that can support learning goals at a distance.

Below are additional resources:

By Liz Kolb is clinical associate professor of education in technology and teacher education at the University of Michigan.


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Liz Kolb

University of Michigan

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