I received some great comments on posting Stephen Downes's Reality video. In those comments, context was mentioned as being key to learning.
Well, turns out that context is key - it can even lead us to see and believe things that are nt there. A study at University College London has seen this. here is a quote from a report on the study:
"Scientists at UCL (University College London) have found the link between what we expect to see, and what our brain tells us we actually saw. The study reveals that the context surrounding what we see is all important -- sometimes overriding the evidence gathered by our eyes and even causing us to imagine things which aren't really there."
Neat stuff. One of the very interesting things that came out of the study is that a vague background context was more influential than a clear well-defined context - explains why different people see different things - a critical thing to remember when dealing with learners.
It also explains how illusions work, so if you are one of those people who believe in the magic, you may not want to read the study.
So there you have it - context is key - no context, no learning. Context explains why some people "get it" and some don't. Or does it? Depends on your context I guess. Hmmm...