One of the possible ways forward that "The Experience Designer" feels has been neglected is Edu-tainment. The problem has been that people have tried to create games out of education rather than using entertainment/games for education. There were a few courses where the Matrix was used to look at consciousness and ideas in philosophy. There are also books, such as the Physics of Star Trek and the Philosophy of the Simpsons but are these being used for education? I wanted to set Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen's series of books on the Science of Discworld as a course text but I never had the courage, and not everyone is a Discworld fan. A good example of edu-tainment for a younger audience is Horrible Histories, which my children love and a lot of others seem to as well. We used to have "Think of a Number" and "Think Again" for maths and there was "How!" for science. There is Bang Goes the Theory but The Big Bang Theory might be more popular!
Edu-tainment could be very useful online as this is one thing where people interact often and people are prepared to commit a huge amount of time and effort to their Farms, Sims, Moshi-monsters or whatever else they are playing. If we could harness that enthusiasm in an edu-tainment context then we would have a much more dynamic course. The Sims are a good place to start or Civ as gaming environments. I have tools like StarLogo and NetLogo but these are much less games and too much entertainment. People can learn even when they don't think they are learning if you can generate the right outcomes.