Hive Learning Networks Vision, Goals and Conditions for impact


We imagine a time when connected learning is ubiquitous in Hive cities across the globe, empowering educators and unlocking opportunities for all youth.

Over the next five years, the Hive’s ambitious goals in support of its vision are:

  • Create high-quality connected learning and web literacy tools, content, curriculum and practices for broad use
  • Catalyze schools, youth programs, and city agencies to provide rich connected learning and web literacy programs, especially in under-served communities
  • Grow demand for Hive Learning Events, Communities and Networks in new locations and sectors.


When more youth have access to relevant connected learning experiences and gain new digital skills, and educators and organizations make connected learning central to their practices, Hive will have realized its ambitious vision of educational transformation.

This post outlines the forward vision, core principles, goals, and attributes of Hive Learning Networks. Hive offers a clear account of its operating principles to stakeholders, communities of practice, and local Hives in cities across the globe excited to expand and develop a connected learning framework for implementing, experimenting and scaling web literacy, creative learning, and change.


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Hive Learning Networks Overview

Founded by MacArthur and Mozilla Foundations, Hive Learning Networks prepare youth to thrive in school, work, and civic life. Dedicated to unlocking opportunities for all youth, Hive Learning Networks empower educators to build connected learning experiences and teach the digital skills essential for young people to shape their world. At the city-level, and across the globe, Hive Learning Networks actively support an open source approach to learning by generating opportunities for exploration, experimentation, innovation, iteration, and shared discovery.

A bold and dynamic demonstrated model of connected learning in action, Hive Learning Networks reflect the reality and opportunities of the Internet era. Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation shares that because “connected learning is the best, fastest and deepest way to ensure that the greatest number of people can learn effectively any time, any place and at any pace, both in school and beyond,” Hive Learning Networks plan to grow over the next five years and drive essential change.

Supported by the recent Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet’s report “Learner at the Center of a Networked World,” and aligned with the principles of the newly launched Connected Learning Alliance, the Hive Learning Networks’ spread and scale is well poised to make the difference in the future of learning. “We want to create more pathways for young people to have opportunities for success — in academics, in a career, or in community engagement – by connecting the spheres of kids’ lives that they care about the most. When we bring together their social world and the thing they want to get better at, and then connect those two with something that has a payoff in the real world, we have connected learning,” explains Connie Yowell Director of Education for U.S. Programs at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Connected Learning

A growing and vibrant network of educators and organizations dedicated to advancing connected learning, web literacy and digital skills, Hive facilitates learning that is “socially embedded, interest-driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or political opportunity” (CLA). Be it creative skill-share, collective risk-taking or timely dissemination, Hive catalyzes and leverages the ingenuity of local participants — the libraries, museums, community based organizations and individual educators and entrepreneurs in its learning networks — to engage in learning that crosses geographic boundaries and builds capacity to pilot, innovate, fail, and succeed. All of this is with the goal of ensuring authentic, transformative youth-driven, interested-based learning and participation.

Intentional and responsive, Hive fosters the spread of new ideas, tools, and digital media practices and concretely demonstrates the power and potential of connected learning to foster a “world where all young people have equitable access to learning opportunities that are social, participatory, driven by personal needs and interests, and oriented toward educational, civic and economic opportunity” (CLA). In practice, this means that many more educators and youth will experience collaboration and experimentation in spaces where youth are challenged to creatively drive their own learning, that connected learning practices flourish in Hive cities with people avidly using the great digital tools and content being created by the network, and Hive membership expanding to new cities.


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 Core Principles & Practices

Hive Learning Networks are made up of organizations and individuals working with a wide range of missions, youth populations, institutional sizes, media art forms, and engagement strategies, but who all share a clear set of values and aspirations. Hive Learning Networks act on and advance core principles and practices in their programs, in their partnerships, and throughout the network itself. Taken together, they support learning that is highly-engaging, participatory, and self-directed because, as the Connected Learning Alliance recognizes, it takes place in the context of social interaction. These principles and practices are:

  • Creative & Innovative: supporting inventive solutions and imaginative approaches to     learning.
  • Collaborative & Catalytic: multidisciplinary teams (learners) have shared goals, shared     purpose, and objectives to nurture new ideas, new ways of working, new partnerships, or as the Aspen Institute Task Force recommends, “innovations can be shared across networks.”
  • Relevant & Consequential: experiences address needs and potential of children, youth, and teens, with learning and interests linked to academic achievement, career success or civic engagement.
  • Equitable & Accessible: builds learning opportunities for all in a way that fosters interoperability (the ability to move freely across networks). “Adopts open standards and protocols that simplify, promote interoperability of learning resources.” (Aspen)
  • Engaging & Participatory: connects the personal with shared interests of the community to actively create, design and test new knowledge.
  • Working Open: Hive is a network that learns together. Hive works open by valuing discovery, acquisition of knowledge, and the process of remixing and sharing that learning with others.

Vision & Goals

Hive Learning Networks work to ensure that connected learning is ubiquitous in Hive cities across the globe, empowering educators and unlocking opportunities for all youth.

Hive has a clear set of aligned and complementary goals designed to accomplish its ambitious vision of ubiquitously spreading and scaling connected learning. Building across individual and institutional experiences and practices, these goals support a radically new approach to how organizations and educators “work, make, and do.” Hive Learning Networks can help transform traditional institutions, agencies and programs into communities of practice where all learners are at the center as co-designers, makers, collaborators, and creators.

Mobilize more educators adopt connected learning practices and teach web literacy within a growing constellation of Hive Learning Networks

  • Indicator  of success:  The  # of Hive organizations, adults and youth contributing to connected learning and web literacy opportunities from traditionally underserved communities and locations
  • Indicator:  # Hive identified educators in city

Create high-quality connected learning and web literacy tools, content, curriculum and practices for broad use.

  • Indicator: # and quality of curriculum, content, software and instructional models made by educators
  • Indicator: use and spread of prototypes, curriculum, practices through Hive and other networks

Catalyze schools, youth programs, and city agencies to provide rich connected learning and web literacy programs, especially in under-served communities

  • Indicator: # schools/youth programs where Hive tools, practices, curriculum are deeply integrated
  • Indicator: # of additional organizations, networks, and platforms leveraging the work of Hive

Grow demand for Hive Learning Events, Communities and Networks in new locations and sectors.

  • Indicator: # of Hive events (Pop-Ups, Maker Parties and Hack Jams) in new locations
  • Indicator: # of new emerging Hive Learning Communities
  • Indicator: # of new emerging Hive Learning Networks

Key Conditions for Hive

With shared principles of connected learning to guide the design and facilitation of learning experiences, Hive networks also have several common structural characteristics, including a strong and credible voice representing the Hive at the city level. Currently, Hive Learning can be found in eight cities domestically and six globally, each building on and generating key conditions for connected learning. With these elements in place, Hive Learning Networks flourish. They are:

  • Youth:  Youth willing and able to participate in Hive programs and activities, and a commitment to growing a cohort of youth to advise Hive operations and programs
  • Programming and Shared, Open Assets:  Ongoing development of innovative learning programs and activities that contribute to shared, open assets for wide remix
  • Professional Learning Community: A community of youth-serving educators and organizations committed to testing new ideas in a connected learning framework through web literacy and digital skills
  • Technology:  A commitment to building, supporting and advocating for open     technologies that better connect organizations, educators and youth
  • Research: Willingness to support, assist and incorporate research on the Hive model and its contributions to improved learning for youth and the     network itself
  • Badges: Exploration of digital badges as a tool for highlighting the learning that takes place in informal spaces
  • Sustainability: Financing and investment to support Hive administration and innovative programs

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