The term learner bears a sense of a passive individual that is merely a receptacle for Instruction and information. In light of this assumption, one would presume that another word or another view of the “learning as a process” to take place. Most everyone has some to contribute to this process and, aside from situations in which individuals need instruction for imediate information, for more long-term knowledge retention learning needs to be views not only as a process but as a participatory process. Even if an individual will go through “instruction” alone, ideally, the learning process starts then and continues as this individual partakes in conversations, formal and informal situations in which that knowledge is applied, learners new nuances to that information from others, funds new applications for that information as s/he collaborated with other “learners” (please read all you can about Constructivist epistemology and some applied theories such as social learning).
Therfore, if learning is an ongoing participatory process, maybe those in the field of Education should see the learners as “participants” in learning constantly together. Not that this is a call for a different word, bit for the view that consructivists have had for a while and that now social media makes it easier to achieve by creating participatory environments.