What is Learner Identity?

Experience of Becoming and Being a Learner

Learner Identity is defined as the process of becoming and being a learner. It is a conceptual artefact that contains, connects and enables reflection over the emotional and cognitive processes of the experience of becoming and being a learner. In essence, it is about enabling students to review themselves as learners and to foster their understanding of how their actions, emotions, thoughts and motives about themselves in learning are interconnected.


Couched within a Personal Construct Psychology framework and a Strengths Perspective, ‘My Learner ID’ tracks the voice of the learner in their journey through education and on becoming a learner. The LID Series offers a coherent developmental and stage appropriate framework to track the voice of the learner over the school years. Activities are designed throughout the series to elicit the perspectives of the learner and to prompt the learner to record their voice about the learning process and learning experiences.


There is growing consensus that ‘learning to learn’ is the ultimate goal of education for the 21st century. Trough (2012) argued that schools don’t teach the important skills: persistence, self-control, curiosity, grit and self-confidence. My Learner ID Series presents a section on ‘My Learning Ways’. This section addresses learner dispositions and growth mindsets. The inclusion of this section reflects an understanding that there are tendencies towards particular patterns of intellectual behaviour and that dispositions are acquired. The intent of this section is to build learner consciousness and understanding of the meaning of learner disposition and to develop the capacities, tools and tactics to use that disposition effectively.


The construction of knowledge ideally occurs when it is within the learner’s control. Effectiveness in learning is maximised when learners want to learn, do the thinking, produce the meaning and contextualise and generalise knowledge for their own use (Farrington et al. 2012). It is argued that the extent to which a learner takes on additional responsibility for his or her own learning influences the strength of his or her identity as an independent lifelong learner (Kolb & Kolb, 2012). ‘My Learner ID’ Series nurtures learner ownership, agency and responsibility by prompting self-reflection, self-assessment and by considering strategies to improve learning by evaluating the impact of preferred strategies on learning efficiencies.