Boston University Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Boston University Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

The 4E Framework

This framework describes the varying intensities of training methods and the expected outcomes for each form of training.

What is it?

The 4E framework is an adaptation of categories first used to describe varying intensities of training methods (Farkas & Anthony, 2007; Farkas, Jette, Tennestadt, Haley & Quinn, 2003).

The strategies can be categorized as: exposure, experience, expertise and embeddingThe strategies have a specific learning goal (i.e., increased knowledge; increased knowledge and positive attitudes; increased competence; increased utilization of the information over time).

Strategy Goal/Outcome
Exposure Increased knowledge
Experience Increased knowledge and positive attitudes
Expertise Increased competence
Embedding Increased use in practice



Exposure methods are used in an information-seeking model; as a means of looking for ways to increase the interactive nature of communication; that is, helping participants to explore, learn, decide or confirm information, rather than just reading it.

Examples of exposure techniques designed to increase knowledge include: reading and discussion, online seminars, one-day workshops, lectures, and webinars.


Experience strategies help the user to “get ready” to use an innovation or new information.

The experience strategy for researchers may involve mentoring young researchers in order to engage them in developing new studies.

Experience strategies for other participants may include: observing programs or demonstrations of the innovations, participating in an audio visual experience ( video, podcast, webinar) with specific exercises and discussions related to deepening an understanding of the information and value system beneath it or meeting peers or others who can serve to clarify and inspire an audience.


Expertise strategies help the participant develop the competency to perform skills to criteria.

Examples of expertise strategies include: supervised internships for new providers or researchers or others coming into the field, or specific training programs focused on didactic, modeling and supervised practice over time.


Embedding strategies are complex knowledge utilization methods whose goal is to increase use of the new findings or innovation over time. This need to institutionalize knowledge in daily practice has long been recognized as one of the most difficult aspects of promoting change.

Examples of embedding strategies include: technical assistance or organizational change techniques to help organizations develop structures that support the use of the information; “power strategies” that establish rules, legislation, public policy that strengthen social norms and expectations about what is possible or strategies that affect resources to make the changes sustain over time, such as funding.


Farkas, M., & Anthony W. A. ( 2007).  Bridging science to service: Using a rehabilitation research and training center program to ensure that research knowledge makes a difference. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 44(6), 879-892.

Farkas, M., Jette, A. M., Tennestadt, S., Haley, S. M., & Quinn,V. (2003). Knowledge dissemination and utilization in gerontology: An organizing framework. Gerontologist, 43, Special Issue, 47-56.