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Best Practices in Community-based Digital Learning


Keywords: Digital learning, Informal Learning, Community-based organizations, Organizational Learning, Collaborative Knowledge Building


This project focused on surfacing effective practices in community-based digital learning. Funded by and created in collaboration with the Susan Crown Exchange, we brought together eight youth-serving organizations from across the USA that were leaders in creating successful digital learning programs to collaboratively share and synthesize practices and approaches that made them unique.


The output of our work is a collaboratively developed web toolkit, inclusive of over 30 resources addressing five key levers of organizational development around community-based digital learning:

(1) Pedagogy

(2) Skills

(3) Technology

(4) Community

(5) Capacity


It includes case examples, how to’s, guiding perspectives spanning print, video and audio media, and highlights emerging practices such as adult/youth collaboration in ambitious digital learning projects, client-based work as pedagogy, strategies for connecting youth to local creative and technology scenes, utilizing data for improvements of digital programs, and many others. It aims to inform front-line educators, organizational leaders, funders and policymakers on how to effectively support community-based digital learning in their own work.


  • June Ahn, UC-Irvine

  • Juan Pablo Sarmiento, New York University


  • AS220 Youth

  • Beam Center

  • Dreamyard

  • Digital Harbor Foundation

  • Free Spirit Media

  • The Knowledge House

  • West Michigan Center for Art + Technology

  • YOUmedia @ The Chicago Public Library


  • Susan Crown Exchange



  • Santo, R., Ahn, J. and Sarmiento, J. (2019). Reclaiming Digital Futures: Lessons to Help Youth Thrive Through Informal Learning with Technology. Irvine, CA: UC-Irvine.


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