An Agenda For Research & Design
In today’s age of technology and the immediate access to all types of information, Connected Learning is learning with consideration of one’s personal interests and social environment. It allows the individual learner the opportunity to experience information and learning in a way that is relevant to them. It also ties the educational world and the social world in a way that inspires learning and creates participatory learning, not just a passive student. “To “learn from experience” is to make a backward and forward connection between what we do to things and what we enjoy or suffer from things in consequence. Under such conditions, doing becomes trying; an experiment with the world to find out what it is like; the undergoing becomes instruction— the discovery of the connection of things” (M Ito et al.) As it relates to digital media, Connected learning allows the learner to “connected” to the material in a meaningful way through the use of technology. This technology connects students to knowledge, resources, peer groups, and mentors not possible in years past. Connected learning also bridges the gap between social classes offering those previously without the means or availability to access equal opportunities for learning. “The basic premise of student-centered, engaged learning is that to make a truly equitable and democratic society, we have to begin with a form of instruction that is itself equitable.” ( Ashton, structuring equality) This is what makes connected learning so essential in today’s classrooms.
The research is clear: Learning is irresistible and life-changing when it connects personal interests to meaningful relationships and real-world opportunities. Below are a few videos from the Connected Learning Alliance. The CLA was launched by the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub of the University of California Humanities Research Institutewith support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative. The Connected Learning Lab at UC Irvine is its current steward.
Forty years ago learning was about studying, testing, and graduating. One chose a career path, studied the career, and then entered into the workforce. Today though, since information is growing at such a fast pace, the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful have grown too. “One of the most persuasive factors is the shrinking half-life of knowledge. “The “half-life of knowledge” is the time span from when knowledge is gained to when it becomes obsolete. Half of what is known today was not known 10 years ago. The amount of knowledge in the world has doubled in the past 10 years and is doubling every 18 months according to the American Society of Training and Documentation (ASTD). To combat the shrinking half-life of knowledge, organizations have been forced to develop new methods of deploying instruction.” (Siemens) This is what makes connected learning so vital in today’s world. Thomas and Brown discussed this very concept in their article, “Learning for a world of constant change,” The suggested that information is growing at such a fast pace that educators can barely keep up with teaching new content as it changes daily. Therefore, students, must become learners over and over again every class, and at every learning moment that is experienced differently than the last.“For more than a century, educators have strived to customize education to the learner. Connected Learning leverages the advances of the digital age to make that dream a reality—connecting academics to interests, learners to inspiring peers and mentors, and educational goals to the higher-order skills the new economy rewards. Six principles….define it and allow every young person to experience learning that is social, participatory, interest-driven and relevant to the opportunities of our time” (Educator Innovator - https://educatorinnovator.org/ why-connected-learning/) - David Brodosi
Ito, Mizuko & Gutierrez, Kris & Livingstone, Sonia & Penuel,
Bill & Rhodes, Jean & Salen, Katie & Schor, Juliet & Sefton-
Green, Julian & Craig Watkins, S. (2013). Connected
learning: An agenda for research and design.
Davidson, Cathy N., et al. The Future of Learning Institutions
in a Digital Age. MIT Press, 2009.
Macbeth, Sarah. “About Participatory Methods.” About
Participatory Methods | Participatory Methods,
Siemens, George. “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the
Digital Age.” International Journal of Instructional Technology
and Distance Learning (ITDL), Jan. 2005, pp. 42–58.,