"I would suggest we start looking at what I call the sense of “identity” (personal, social, professional), a permanently evolving entity or bundle of beliefs that is nevertheless based on some deeply stable elements (personality, culture, social status, etc.). By failing to take into account this major factor, the officially recognized pleasure and pain involved in learning become superficial or trivial and we’re left wondering why the planned training didn’t work (face to face, eLearning or simulation, it matters little)."Yea! Exactly! I think this is such an important idea not only because we need to understand this to create better opportunities for learning (note I didn't say create better learning) but because to a degree that has never been possible before, users can now create their own learning experiences based on this sense of "identity" that Peter describes so well.
Here is a picture illustrating some of what I mean:
That's a screenshot of my desktop with some Widgets running. One is a drug reference manual, one is pulling RSS feeds from the NY Times (could be changed to be ANY RSS feed), one is a customizable flashcard widget and one is a lookup program for area codes. They are all free. They are all customizable with no scripting skills. I think they can allow a user to construct an environment customized to their ever-changing identity. I also think they point one way forward for us - to build platforms instead of applicaions and to teach people how to construct and operate in these environments and not try to teach them what to learn. We can't keep up with that anyway.
I'll end my little rant with one final thought - do we assume that in the absence of instruction that no learning occurs? If the answer is that of course we know that learning occurs regardless of the presence of really well-designed instruction, then shouldn't we look at how that learning already occurs and look to maximize those opportunities for people?