The Digital Media and Learning Research Hub’s mission is to advance research in the service of a more equitable, participatory, and effective ecosystem of learning keyed to the digital and networked era. Located at the system-wide University of California Humanities Research Institute at UC Irvine, we are an international research center that is committed to promoting compelling research collaborations about best participatory learning practices, applications, programs and their assessments that engage digital media. We support emerging research on digital media and learning through two interdisciplinary research networks — Connected Learning and Youth and Participatory Politics — and the Connecting Youth Project. We also host an annual conference, organize a week-long summer institute for junior scholars, and bring together researchers, practitioners, policymakers, industry leaders and others working on related projects. Our collaborative blog and curated set of free and open resources — DML Central — serves as a forum for spreading knowledge, insights, data, practices, thought leadership, and dialogue in and across the digital media and learning field.

The Digital Media and Learning Research Hub in brief

Dmlhub.net is the umbrella website of the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. All of the Research Hub’s activities — which include original research, blogs, websites, a webinar series, publications, and an annual conference — are generously supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative, a grantmaking area launched in 2006 to help determine how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life. The Research Hub was created in Phase I of the initiative in 2009.

What we do

  1. We investigate the ways in which digital technology is changing learning environments, social and civic institutions, and youth culture.
  2. We work to support the growth of the emerging digital media and learning field and community.
  3. We spread thought leadership and best practices for next generation learning and civics.

How we do it

  • Carry out an extensive agenda of original research
  • Provide a gathering place for those interested in new models of learning
  • Host a weekly webinar series 
  • Produce blogs, websites, a report series, other publications
  • Hold an annual conference
  • Support emerging scholars by sponsoring workshops, working groups and a weeklong summer institute
  • Partner with like-minded research organizations and individuals

Our research

Connected Learning Research Network

With principal investigator Mimi Ito at UC Irvine, this network of scholars is carrying out research tied to the historical moment of the rise of social media, the Internet, and networked culture, and is developing a new model for learning. This new learning paradigm takes advantage of the promise of newfound connections youth have to peers, ideas, knowledge, interests and mentors through the Internet and digital media.

Youth and Participatory Politics

With principal investigator Joseph Kahne at Mills College, this interdisciplinary network of scholars is working together to understand the ways youth participation in online networks and environments is reshaping youth civic and political engagement in the public sphere.

Connecting Youth: Digital Learning Research Project

With principal investigator Richard Arum at NYU,  this research project is a multi-method study of youth, educators and organizations that are participating in a unique set of educational innovations developed by the Institute of Play, the Hive network and collaborative partners in Chicago and New York City.

Reimagining Learning


In March 2012, a set of researchers introduced a new model of learning — connected learning — that taps into the rich new world of information, knowledge, and online collaboration available to youth and learners. Connected learning suggests an approach to education that integrates and connects learning across different settings in a young person’s life including in-school, after-school, and home environments. Connectedlearning.tv serves as the community website that houses information and resources regarding the connected learning model. The website is meant to be a gathering place for those interested in learning more about the research and vision behind the connected learning model and to discover those who are already practicing connected learning.


Resources include media releases, quick facts, logos, event photos, expert interviews, video collections, expertise directory and more.