The Connected Learning Research Network

The Connected Learning Research Network (CLRN) was an interdisciplinary research network that investigated the risks and opportunities for learning at a time of rapid mainstreaming of digital and networked technology between 2011 and 2018. The network was supported by the MacArthur Foundation as part of its broader $242.5 million Digital Media and Learning initiative. In addition to conducting mixed methods research studies, the CLRN also engaged in the design of new learning environments, and partnered with a wide range of educational institutions and practitioners who were part of the DML initiative.

The collective focus of the network was in developing and refining the connected learning framework for research and design. The definition of connected learning — learning that is socially connected, interest-driven and oriented towards opportunity —was first put forth as a working model in the first 2013 CLRN report, Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design. The framework was refined and adapted in the final 2020 report of the CLRN, The Connected Learning Research Network: Reflections on a Decade of Engaged Scholarship.

The legacy of the CLRN continues through the work of the Connected Learning Alliance (CLA), stewarded by the Connected Learning Lab at UC Irvine. In addition to hosting the annual Connected Learning Summit, the CLA sustains the momentum for the connected learning movement through publications, a blog, newsletter, and other curated resources. Books and other major publications from the CLRN continue to be added and updated on the CLA website.