What Does Connected Learning Look Like?

connected-learningConnected learning holds the promise of re-invisioning what education can look like.  In many ways, we have talked about the ideal of connected learning for years, but it wasn’t until the advent of the internet and social media, in particular, that we have had the tools to make it a reality.  The beauty of social technology is the affordances it allows: spreadability, searchability, visibility, and the democratization of content production.  Functioning similarly, the idea of being able to create one’s own PLE (Personal Leanring Environment) or PLN (Personal Learning Network) allows one to create an education out of disparate parts and reduces barriers to access and contribution.

The following graphic has consistently become my “go to” visual for representing what connected learning is and what it looks like.  It highlights six features of connected learning which I’ve organized them into two categories:

Organizing Principles:

  • Production Centered
  • Shared Purpose
  • Openly Networked

Content and Networks:

  • Interests
  • Peer Culture
  • Academic

Out of all the concepts in this list that I find most interesting is the inclusion of the word “academic.”  One of the criticisms one may level against connected learning is that it can appear as if it’s a “wild west” of “anything goes.”  Beyond what the graphic describes, the inclusion of the word “academic,” for me, indicates that connected learning should be purpose-driven and that the quality of the content matters.  While one should democratize knowledge production and realize that it comes from many different places and takes many different forms, all information is not necessarily well-reasoned and thought out.  There is a place for academic writing alongside the informal.  Information literacy matters.  And the critical consumption of knowledge in connected learning is of critical importance.

What do you think?

DG_Macarthur_r03

Creative Commons License Credit: Connected Learning Research Network and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub.  This Connected Learning Infographic is presented in its original form and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. You may Share and Adapt it, but you must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.