There is an interesting new report out on something called Connected Learning by The Digital Media and Learning Research Hub.
This report is a synthesis of ongoing research, design, and implementation of an approach to education called “connected learning.” It advocates for broadened access to learning that is socially embedded, interest-driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or political opportunity. Connected learning is realized when a young person is able to pursue a personal interest or passion with the support of friends and caring adults, and is in turn able to link this learning and interest to academic achievement, career success or civic engagement.
I'm not sure why they restrict the definition to a "young person," but other than that it presents a compelling view of an approach to education. The authors say that by combining the plethora of resources available today with the intersections of academics, interests and peer groups, you get a new kind of engagement in learning. They also conclude that this style of learning has societal benefits as well as individual benefits. This sounds to me like the same thing that attracts us to the Maker culture and homeschooling. The table below summarizes some of the principles.
The report includes a plethora of videos from education professionals discussing Connected Learning, how it works and generally singing its praises. If you are interested in directions in education for the 21st century, it is worth taking a look at these.
A summary report is available here
The entire publication is available here
Videos of educators involved in the study are here