What Is Connected Learning, Anyway?

Connected Learning?

Connected Learning is a term that is bandied about in all kinds of contexts. The more research I do in the area of the Web and its relationship to teaching & learning, the more I see that the concepts associated with the terms often refer to different things. In my area, English Education, for example, several terms appear to be used almost interchangeably: digital literacies,  new literacies, multimodal literacies– I’m sure that to many, there’s not a difference. (Oh, but there is…. ) It seems important to me, then, to be sure I get the term connected learning, at least, as far as it is used in this course,  straight in my head.

Useful Material

I found some useful material on the Connected Courses’ mothership, the  DML Research Hub.

The What is Connected Learning page is packed with information: an FAQ about Connected Learning; an infographic (see below); two videos, one about a student, the other about the thinking behind the idea; links to a research agenda and to a discussion of core principles & values of connected learning.

There’s a link to Connected Learning information for educators, a great repository of resources for K-12 schools, colleges, universities, and programs for youth.

I found something else that looked interesting, but I’ve lost track of it. (There is so much information at this network of sites that it’s possible to lose one’s way. The connections between projects are more explicit than they once were, which is helpful, as are the different design elements that distinguish one project from another.)

Wait! I just found one more page; this looks like another landing page.

The infographic, below, is beautiful and packed with information. I am starting there. Then, I’ll putter in the research articles below the infographic. Hope this has been useful.


Connected Learning

This Connected Learning Infographic by the Connected Learning Research Network and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

 Research-y Stuff

One of the affiliated projects, The Connected Learning Research Network,  offered a number of reports, articles, and blogs about some research areas I’m interested in.  I will spend more time with these three:

Explaining the Research of Connected Learning by Julian Sefton-Green.  He writes,

The idea of “connected learning” encompasses a way of theorising and describing the kinds of learning that take place against the grain, as it were, in places where we might not usually expect to find it, in communities where traditionally it is not always recognised, and amongst individuals who frequently appear to be on parallel tracks to those customarily valued by the mainstream. It describes communities of practice that have sprung up in virtual and informal spaces inhabited by young people and around activities and interests often ignored by conventional schools.

Rethinking the ‘Race Between Education and Technology’ Thesis by S. Craig Watkins, who writes

One key question that our work has forced us to grapple with can be phrased this way: “Has the adoption of digital media in diverse settings – homes, schools, communities – led to an expansion of skills, forms of knowledge, and, more importantly, opportunity?”

Finally, Sonia Livingstone‘s project, The Class

…examined the emerging mix of on- and offline experiences in teenagers’ daily learning lives. We focused on the fluctuating web of peer-to-peer networks that may cut  across institutional boundaries, adult values and established practices of learning and leisure. Key research questions included:

  • How do social relationships shape forms of learning in and out of school? And how do forms of learning shape social relationships?
  • How do young people use digital technologies within their daily activities within and beyond the classroom, as part of their ‘learning lives’, and under what conditions is this constructive, enabling or impeding?
  • How is youthful engagement with digital technologies shaped by the formal or informal practices, opportunities or risks, empowerment or constraints of the institutions and spaces in which learning occurs?
  • Insofar as these technological mediations enable or complement learning, can this be harnessed constructively to develop future recommendations?


So much to read, so little time….


3 responses to “What Is Connected Learning, Anyway?”

  1. Imee says:

    Karen- Your blog title attracted me to check out your #ccourse initiated blog. I’m a newbie and love the graphic you posted of Connected Learning!
    Look forward to more.

    • admin says:

      Thanks! I’m a newbie to MOOCs also– at least, I’ve never gotten much further than the first week in those I’ve tried. I look forward to sharing this with a fellow newb.

  2. Some really useful references here – i’ll be bookmarking this post 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.