Learning 2.0 is Dumb: Use ‘Connected Learning’ Instead

Going forward, and as best I can, I’ll use the term ‘Connected Learning’ to describe a knowledge ecosystem made up of formal, informal and social learning behaviours and modalities.

It’s about time I (and perhaps you as well) retire the term Learning 2.0.

There are a few reasons for this:

  • Learning will forever be part formal, part informal and part social (see this CLO Magazine article I wrote for more details)
  • Learning 2.0 implies there may be Learning 3.0 coming; learning can’t be thought of or positioned as a series of iPhone versions (ie. iPhone 3, iPhone 4, etc.)
  • Learning is defined by both the behaviour and act of learning (how we approach it) as well as the modalities that shape it (where we learn)
    • The behaviour of learning will always start with a connection, be it with a person, a group of people or connecting with a topic, a thread, an idea or even a modality itself
    • Modalities involve a connection of sorts too, be it connecting with a classroom or a conference (formal), with a mentor, a book, a website (informal) or with a blog, a tweet or a discussion forum (social).
  • Learning (both the act and the various modalities) is truly symbolized by the theory and practice of connectivism. (see George Siemens’ work entitled “What is the unique idea in Connectivism?”, Eyal Sivan describing “Connectivism as Learning Theory” and Stephen Downes’ piece entitled “Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge”)
    • The problem for many in the corporate sector (and perhaps other sectors) is the term ‘connectivism’ needs too much explaining (similar to Learning 2.0) but paying homage to the term by denoting it as ‘connected learning’ may be more sensible let alone simpler. In summary, Connectivism = Connected Learning.

Therefore, I present to you ‘Connected Learning’ … at least from a modality perspective:

If ‘Connected Learning’ is part formal, part informal and part social, there will always be the act of ‘connecting’ one’s self to people, content, systems, networks, etc. during the learning process itself … and it may occur through several mediums.

Formal: a self-contained & scheduled learning event, typically but not always tracked, providing a comprehensive and at times logical or sequential approach to a topic.

Informal: an opportunity without conventionalism, atypical to formal learning, providing guidance, expertise or acumen on the go.

Social: an exchange of ideas, knowledge or information typically characterized by friendly interaction through online services that provides supplemental understanding often via personal & professional networks.

‘Connected Learning’ leans heavily on Socratic Learning as well:

Socratic learning is based on the idea that human beings have faculties that can be awakened through questioning, exploration, collaboration and self or cross examination.

Based on our learning requirements (individual, team, organizational, etc.) we continuously ‘connect’ the need that has to be filled to the learning modality, be it formal, informal or social. We have to question and explore which modality provides the appropriate amount of depth juxtaposed with the time in which we need the information or new knowledge.

We might ditch one connected learning act or modality with another due to a recognized lack of depth or a timeline that has become too long to fulfill.

We have to connect with others (collaborate) to decide how those learning needs can be filled and we are constantly self-examining our decision to correct if necessary.

In summary, Learning 2.0 is a term I’m going to refrain from using going forward.

Whatever we need to learn, it will always start with a connection. How we fill the need may be one singular modality, or it may be a combination of formal, informal and social means. The aforementioned modalities are also and ultimately connected to each other too.

And those modalities? They are sure to expand over time as well.


  1. says

    Superb representation of the 3 types of learning. ”Connected” is a better indication of collaborative learning than ”2.0”. Everyone should see these 3 types as co-existent and not competing against each-other. There’s room for everyone, it all comes down to choice and of course, efficiency.

  2. says

    I really enjoyed reading this post. The way it describes formal , informal and social learning and connect them to “connected learning” instead of “learning 2.0″. However, learning 2.0 was based on the notion of Web 2.0 and might be faded then after a while but it was a good term two developed by Downes and others. Connected learning however seems to fulfill an all- inclusive definition of all types of learning ( formal, informal and social, with or without technology) and it will include kind of learning 3.0 , or X (Wheeler, Siemens: X Web or eXtended web).

  3. Leeann Jarman says

    Fabulous connecting of the dots! Thank you for taking all these ideas, concepts and theories that have been pinging around in my head and simply laying them out in such a thoughful and easy to relate to diagram.

  4. Devaan Parbhoo (@devaanparbhoo) says

    Thanks for this!! A wonderful depiction of integration the three delivery methodologies of learning.

  5. Muhammad Mushtaq says

    Excellent presentation. Well done
    I need it to use in my research thesis if you grant me permission
    Thanks a lot

  6. says

    Thanks! With your diagram it made it so much easier to see how all three pieces came together to create a connected learning environment.


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