Schooling the Directioners


This study presented here is one of several case studies from the Connected Learning Research Network (CLRN) that highlights interest-based digitally mediated spaces for learning and affinity formation. Like other case studies in this series, this mixed-methods research delves into a particular community, members of which are connected to each other in two ways: (1) with an online forum and other media outlets and (2) through Directioner fan art. Using content analysis, ethnographic observations, surveys, and interviews, this study explores the dynamics related to learning, literacy, and identity formation within a Directioner community on Wattpad. Tens of thousands of stories about the band have been published on Wattpad to date, and this study looks at the writers, readers, and commentators of these stories. Furthermore, attendant to the fanfiction stories were forum discussions, book covers, YouTube trailers marketing the stories, comments, profiles, and song remixes. These media objects are examined in tandem with the fanfiction stories in order to provide a more holistic picture of what connected learning looks like in this slice of a young but mighty teenage fandom.