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Brokering Youth Pathways in Digital Learning


Keywords: Youth Pathways, Digital Learning, Design-based Research, Networked Improvement Communities, Research-Practice Partnerships


This line of research focuses on the practice of brokering future learning, or connecting youth to future learning opportunities and resources, as a means of supporting youth pathways in digital media. Centered on work conducted within a research-practice partnership between Hive Research Lab and the Hive NYC Learning Network, the focal practice of brokering emerged through a collaborative knowledge building process with over 60 youth-serving educational organizations dedicated to supporting youth pathways across settings, and utilized design-based research and networked improvement methods engage in intensive research-practice collaborations in order to develop and refine new brokering practices.


“Brokering” is an important equity-oriented practice that educators can take up in support of youth learning and development. Brokering is means of supporting identity development, social capital building and long-term, interest-driven learning across settings through actively connecting program participants to new learning opportunities like out of school programs, internships, events like hack jams and meet-ups, and more. Common brokering practices include: an educator telling a young person about an opportunity and encouraging them to sign up, posting flyers, and organizing a field trip for young people to learn about a new organization or site.


The Brokering Youth Pathways Toolkit, developed with Hive NYC partners, includes a framework, three research reports, and eleven practice briefs aimed.


  • Dixie Ching, New York University

  • Kylie Peppler, UC-Irvine

  • Chris Hoadley, New York University



  • Mozilla Foundation

  • Beam Center

  • Mouse

  • Scope of Work


  • The Spencer Foundation

  • Hive Digital Media Fund at the New York Community Trust

  • The MacArthur Foundation

  • Capital One



  • Ching, D., Santo, R., Pepper, K., & Hoadley, C. (2018). “He saw I had a loving for it”: Youth Interest Signaling as a Means of Generating Social Support in Technology Pathways.  New York, NY: Hive Research Lab.

  • Ching, D., Santo, R., Pepper, K., & Hoadley, C. (2018). Brokering Youth Pathways: A toolkit for connecting youth to future opportunity. New York, NY: Hive Research Lab.

  • Ching, D., Santo, R., Hoadley, C., & Peppler, K. (2016). Not just a blip in someone’s life: integrating brokering practices into out-of- school programming as a means of supporting youth futures. On the Horizon, 24(3). pp. 296-312.

  • Ching, D., Santo, R., Hoadley, C., Peppler, K. (2015). On-ramps, Lane Changes, Detours and Destinations: Building Connected Learning Pathways in Hive NYC through Brokering Future Learning Opportunities. New York, NY: Hive Research Lab.

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