What Does Connected Learning Look Like?

Ninth-grader Charles Raben has seen first-hand that by connecting the many spheres of his life -- peers, interests and academic pursuits -- new learning experiences can and will present themselves in both organized and unstructured ways.

In the summer of 2012, Charles utilized his photography skills and the petition website Change.org to capture and share the story of Jerry Delakas, a longtime local newsstand operator who was in danger of losing his New York City license over a technicality. "I wanted to have that experience of creating change myself."

The petition-making process proved to be a life-changing learning experience for the teen. Charles has become even more engaged in school, and all of his academic work is improving as a result of all of these activities because he has an identity now. A single sentence on his photography blog eloquently bares this newfound identity: "Each face tells a story and I try to capture just that."

You can view more Connected Learning Case Studies and Personal Stories right here on connectedlearning.tv.

The Research Behind Connected Learning

Connected Learning Report An Agenda for Research & Design
A research synthesis report of the Connected Learning Research Network (PDF)
Connected Learning Principles Core Principles & Values
The Learning Principles, Design Principles, and Core Values behind Connected Learning
Read the Connected Learning FAQ
Some of the most frequently asked questions about Connected Learning

A Learning Approach Designed for the Demands and Opportunities of the Digital Age: Powerful, Relevant, Engaging

Connected Learning is an educational approach designed for our ever-changing world. It makes learning relevant to all populations, to real life and real work, and to the realities of the digital age, where the demand for learning never stops.

  • Learners are the focus: Specifically, developing lifelong learners with higher-order skills.
  • We build on the basics: The basics are important, but not enough for youth to thrive in our rapidly-changing world.
  • We connect three critical spheres of learning: academics, a learner’s interests, inspiring mentors and peers.
  • We harness the advances and innovations of our connected age to serve learning: Just as earlier generations tapped the tools of their time to improve learning, we must do the same in the digital age.
  • Making, creating and producing are powerful paths to deeper learning and understanding: Connected learning asks learners to experiment, to be hands-on, and to be active and entrepreneurial in their learning, recognizing that this is what is now needed to be successful in work and in life.

The Thinking Behind Connected Learning

There is wide agreement that we need new models of education, and not simply new models of schooling, but entirely new visions of learning better suited to the increasing complexity, connectivity, and velocity of our new knowledge society. We now have the capability to reimagine where, when, and how learning takes place. This six-part short film series by Nic Askew speaks to that need for a connected learning vision: learning that is powerful, relevant, and engaging.

  • Connected Learning: Interest, Peer Culture, Opportunities

  • Connected Learning: Real-world Engagement

  • Connected Learning: Inspiring Mentors and Peers

  • Connected Learning: Playing, Creating, Making

  • Connected Learning: Building on the Basics

  • Connected Learning: Anytime, Anywhere, Everyone