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Linked Learning: The Future Is Now

December 7, 2017 | Linked Learning Alliance

For the past decade, The James Irvine Foundation has been at the forefront of prioritizing Linked Learning pathways that prepare students for career AND college. Because of its leadership and early investments, the Irvine Foundation made it possible for the Linked Learning field to grow into a flourishing movement that is demanding both greater educational outcomes and increased equity. This movement was catalyzed by The Irvine Foundation’s initial investments that convened a surprising coalition of educators and employers, teachers and school administrators, researchers and advocates – which has since developed into an Alliance that is inclusive of schools, districts, and post-secondary institutions. As the Irvine Foundation’s investment focus is now shifting, we celebrate the tremendous increase in Linked Learning opportunities that have been made possible due to Irvine’s decade of support, and look ahead to the exciting new developments that are propelling the field forward.

One of the most important outcomes of the Irvine Foundation’s investments is research-backed evidence that Linked Learning works to improve student readiness for college and career, particularly for students who had low achievement prior to entering high school. Linked Learning also helps to address educational equity. Examples of Linked Learning impact on students include:

  • Linked Learning students are more likely than comparison students to report that high school helped them develop key 21st century skills, such as communication, working with people in professional settings, collaboration, and informational literacy. (read more: The Linked Learning Advantage: 21st Century Skills Development)
  • Pathway students who entered high school with low academic preparation were 9.4 percentage points more likely to graduate and completed 15.4 more credits than similar peers in traditional high school programs. (read more: Linked Learning and Postsecondary Transitions)
  • On average, African American students in certified pathways earned more credits— roughly three courses worth—than African American students in traditional high school programs. They also accumulated one more college prep requirement and were more likely to graduate than their peers. (read more: Access & Equity in Linked Learning)

For those who are interested in learning more about Linked Learning student outcomes and the remarkable story of the expanding Linked Learning field, please view and share the updated Linked Learning in Motion.

Looking forward, the Linked Learning Alliance is focusing on supporting the momentum of the Linked Learning field so that the movement remains a sustainable and transformative effort. Linked Learning Certification and Linked Learning Analytics were recently launched. These systems affirm our field’s commitment to improving equity and expanding high quality pathways for all students. In addition, we annually convene leaders in K-12 and postsecondary education, business, workforce, research, policy, philanthropy, and nonprofit for thoughtful collaboration and professional learning to support our field’s commitment to ensure that all students are well prepared for college, career, and life.

Please join us at the 2018 Linked Learning Convention on February 12-14, 2018 in Anaheim, CA where we will celebrate the decade of investments in this field by The James Irvine Foundation, as well as reflect on the progress made, field growth gained, and lessons learned over the past 10 years. The Convention is a unique opportunity for networking, strategic, and professional learning from peers. We look forward to seeing you there.