Hi. You have probably seen it by now but below is my response to Scott in the original thread who asked much the same question as you in your last sentence. Apologies if you have already seen it:
(quote) Scott - you asked whether or not it is not hopeless to design for learning as a biological phenomenon. In fact I firmly believe it is possible based on the fact that I have been doing so for several years now. I am currently working with our military to institute such an approach to emergent and adaptive learning which supports decision making in complex and asymmetric environments.
My research and experience shows that if, like biology, we treat learning as something which can and will occur naturally regardless of what we do, then the quality of learning (as opposed to 'what' is learned) will be determined by how well we shape the environment and nurture the growing organism.
Shaping the environment means planting the right seed, in the right place, in order to grow the right outcome. And then we water and nurture the seed's growth, shaping and trimming as we go along, so that at the end we have either a towering oak tree or a Bonsai version.
I have also used a similar approach to the introduction of a vocational education and training system into a Middle Eastern country but there are many decades to go before we can see just how successful I have been. (Unquote)