Connected Learning

Source: MacArthur foundation website, Mar 2012

A team of researchers has introduced a new learning model that aims to tap into the potential of information and online collaboration available to youth in their daily lives.

“We are seeing a growing gap between in-school and out-of-school learning as more and more of young people’s learning, attention, and access to information is happening outside of classrooms and through online networks and exchanges,” 

Here’s more from the researchers’ description of connected learning:

This approach proposes knitting together of three crucial contexts for learning:

Interest-powered…Research has repeatedly shown that when a subject is personally interesting and relevant, learners achieve much higher-order learning outcomes.

Peer-supported…In their everyday exchanges with peers and friends, young people are fluidly contributing, sharing and giving feedback in web-powered experiences that are highly engaging.

Academically oriented…When academic studies and institutions draw from and connect to young people’s interest-driven pursuits, learners flourish and realize their true potential.

…and the embrace of three key design principles:

Production-centered…Connected learning prioritizes the learning that comes from actively producing, creating, experimenting and designing, because it promotes skills and dispositions for lifelong learning, and for making meaningful contributions to today’s rapidly changing work- and social conditions.

Open networks…Today’s online platforms and digital tools can make learning resources abundant, accessible, and visible across all learner settings.

Shared purpose…Today’s social media and web-based communities provide unprecedented opportunities for cross-generational and cross-cultural learning and connection to unfold and thrive around common goals and interests.

“I don’t think there’s anyone in education and learning who doesn’t feel an urgent need to reimagine learning for the new century,” said Connie Yowell, director of education for U.S. programs at MacArthur.

“Our schools are struggling to prepare young people for fulfilling adult lives and careers. Connected learning represents a path forward,” Yowell said. “It’s learning that is socially rich and interest-fueled. In other words, it’s based on the kind of learning that decades of research shows is the most powerful, most effective. And connected learning is oriented towards cultivating educational and economic opportunity for all young people.”

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