About Connected Learning


What is Connected Learning?

Connected learning is when you’re pursuing knowledge and expertise around something you care deeply about, and you’re supported by friends and institutions who share and recognize this common passion or purpose.  Connected learning is real-world. It’s social. It’s hands-on. It’s active. It’s networked. It’s personal. It’s effective.

Connected learning links the insights of classic research on how youth best learn to the opportunities made available through today’s networked and digital media. These principles of Connected Learning weren’t born in the digital age, but they are extraordinarily well-suited to it since digital technologies have the capacity to engage the widest range of young people in learning experiences previously available to a select few.

Through a new vision of learning, Connected Learning holds out the possibility for productive and broad-based educational change.

An Agenda for Educator Innovators

Connected learning is realized when a young person is able to pursue a personal interest or passion with the support of friends and caring adults, and is in turn able to link this learning and interest to academic achievement, career success and civic engagement. The model is based on evidence that the most resilient, adaptive, and effective learning involves individual interest as well as social support to overcome adversity and provide recognition.

Innovative educators across a range of learning institutions—schools and universities, libraries, museums, and community programs—are exploring the implications of connected learning for their practice. The Educator Innovator supports those practitioners and organizations with learning-focused opportunities to explore the principles of Connected Learning, in order to to broaden access to powerful learning for young people and work toward greater equity in education. Through our practice, we advocate for learning that is socially embedded, interest-driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or political opportunity.

Why now?

The Connected Learning movement argues that we are living in a historical moment of transformation in the creation and sharing of knowledge, in social, political, and economic life, and in global connectedness. We need new models of education suited to this historic moment — 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. Fortunately, we can harness those same technologies and social processes that have powered these transformations in order to provide the next generation with learning experiences that open doors to academic achievement, economic opportunity, and civic engagement.

Educator innovators across diverse learning institutions, both in and out of school, are leaders in the movement to re-imagine learning. They are creating new learning opportunities, sharing curriculum, and investing in the talents and capacities of the youth they work with. Let’s build the future together.

Read more about Connected Learning Principles.