transfer of learning and identity

Scott Wilson just drew our attention to this report.

It deals with what I would call the (lack of) transfer of learning from formal to informal settings, but today I see it in a different light – it is about people’s identity as learners. Anna and my paper for ePortfolio 2006 says that we develop several identities as we grow up, and that these separate identities go along with different values. Integration of those values comes only later, if at all. So, if “learning” (or however one wants to express this as a value) is only positively valued in formal learning situations, clearly the person’s identity as a learner won’t be complete.

So how do we get that that identity as learner transferred? It’s not easy. But through the process which we call “ethical development”, perhaps supported by e-portfolio tools if we’re lucky enough to get good ones one day, people can be led through the process of recognising their different identity-related contexts, and comparing their roles and values in each one. Perhaps then the process of transfer of educational values can be made easier.

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