Some “educational” activities have intrinsically meaningful purposes

Most educational activities are primarily focused on learning outcomes, which subverts their own purpose (Educational objectives often subvert themselves, contra Enabling environments’ activities directly serve an intrinsically meaningful purpose).

But not all nominally-educational environments have this problem. For instance, medical students on rounds with their attending are paying tuition, and they’re learning plenty, but that interaction’s primary purpose is patient care. Even when their attending are doing things which they call “teaching”—asking questions and giving background theory—the interaction’s primary purpose is producing excellent patient care, both in that moment and in the coming months as the medical student takes on increasing responsibility.

It’s usually difficult to reorient a preexisting “educational” activity around an intrinsically meaningful purpose. The cultural values and frameworks are weighty anchors.

Last updated 2023-07-13.