About the Connected Learning Lab

The Connected Learning Lab (CLL) is dedicated to studying and mobilizing learning technologies in equitable, innovative, and learner-centered ways. Located at the University of California, Irvine, the CLL supports interdisciplinary research and design, and partnerships with a broad network of educational practitioners and technologists. The CLL’s focus is defined by the “connected” in connected learning, which refers to both social relationships and emerging digital and networked technologies.

Connected learning is when someone is pursuing a personal interest with the support of peers, mentors and caring adults, and in ways that open up opportunities for them. It differs from technology and institution centered approaches to educational technology in being people-first, prioritizing student interests, cultural relevance, and the life of communities. Connected learning is also a uniquely interdisciplinary and cross-sector approach that brings together the learning sciences, social sciences, design, informatics, and computing to develop new research frameworks, engage in pressing real world problems, and develop and test breakthrough innovations.

The research is clear that young people learn best when actively engaged, creating, and solving problems they care about, supported by peers who appreciate and recognize their accomplishments. Today’s digital world offers an unprecedented opportunity to make these forms of engaged, relevant, and interest-driven learning accessible to young people in all walks of life. The CLL investigates both formal and informal learning settings, and supports connection and alliance building across varied institutions and sectors. The Connected Learning Alliance, a project of the CLL, is dedicated to building a cross-sector network of organizations dedicated to the spread of connected learning.

The CLL grows out of over a decade of MacArthur Foundation investment in the Digital Media and Learning Hub at UC Irvine, and the research of the Connected Learning Research Network and the Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network.