The mnemonic medium should be developed in a context where learning is driven by some meaningful use

The most obvious application for the Mnemonic medium is a formal educational environment. It can probably help students learn faster and more reliably. But I worry that developing the medium in that context would rapidly distort its goals: Enabling environments’ activities directly serve an intrinsically meaningful purpose. It could easily become a servant of exam prep and a passive mode of thoughtless learning, rather than a personally enabling tool used in service of e.g. meaningful creative projects, as I hope it to be.

Of course, I imagine that if the medium is successful, people will use it just to pass tests more easily. But it would be a mistake to let its development be driven by this use case. If we let research be driven by how well the medium serves readers’ authentic sources of meaning, we’ll end up with something qualitatively different. There’s a Path dependence here.

This observation is what makes me hesitant about a few possible genres of context for the medium:

Meaningful use isn’t enough. The use also needs to be fairly demanding: The mnemonic medium should be developed in a context where people really need fluency.

Related: Effective system design requires insights drawn from serious contexts of use