Connected Learning: What You Need to Know

This is an individualized learning process whereby an individual focuses on something of key interest to them, aided by a solid support structure. Connected learning often results in the opening up of several amazing opportunities that were not considered previously.

It’s a fundamentally different way of learning compared to education centered on standardized testing, one-to-many instruction, and fixed subjects. Young individuals learn best when they are actively engaged, developing, and solving problems they care about and are supported by peers who recognize and appreciate their accomplishments. In connected learning, the best of the learning sciences is applied to advanced technologies in a networked world. Though connected learning isn’t something new, advanced digital technologies have broadened opportunities to make it accessible to all young individuals.

Connected learning is defined by six principles and helps every young individual to experience learning that’s interest-driven, participatory, social, and relevant to the current opportunities. These principles include:

Interest-powered – Interests encourage the drive to gain expertise and knowledge. According to research, when a topic is personally relevant and interesting, learners accomplish significantly higher-order learning outcomes. In connected learning, passions and interests that are grown in a social context are viewed as essential elements.

Production-centered – Connected learning values the learning that originates from active design, development, experimentation. This is because it encourages skills and arrangements for lifelong learning and for making valuable contributions to today’s quickly changing social and work conditions.

Peer-supported – Connected learning prospers in a knowledge-rich and socially meaningful ecology of ongoing self-expression, participation, and recognition. Young individuals smoothly contribute, share, and provide feedback during their everyday exchanges with friends and peers. Powered by the possibilities made available by the emergence of social media, this culture can help to create powerful and engaging learning.

Shared purpose – Today’s caring adults, parents, teachers, learners, and their peers can express interests and contribute to a common goal, thanks to the unparalleled opportunities provided by social media platforms and web-based communities.

Academically-oriented – Connected learning acknowledges the value of academic success for intellectual development and as an avenue toward political and economic opportunity. When institutions and academic studies draw from and connect to the interest-driven pursuits, communities, and peer culture of young individuals, learners thrive and become aware of their true potential.

Openly-networked – In connected learning environments, learning in community, home, and school is linked because learners accomplish best results when their learning is supported and reinforced in multiple settings.

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