I attended an educational conference on Friday that began by assuming two things: 1. That the US has one of the worst healthcare systems in the world (an aggressive start considering the audience was full of physicians who can't understand how bad the system is when everyone from all over the world comes to the US for treatment) and 2. That the worst health care system must therefore be doing a bad job of educating the apparently inadequate physicians (even though physicians from all over the world try to come to US to get trained at residencies here).
This made me think of the topic of technology. For whatever reason we assume that newer is better. In today's world we also think faster and more innovative is better. Technology is better. Whatever we used to do (like use a landline to call someone) is outdated and ineffective. We have to find a new and better way to do things and technology will do this for us!
I'm not sure this is true in medical education or education at any level. We've been training physicians in the US for over 100 years with, in my humble opinion, pretty darn good results. In those 100 years there have been many cases of trial and error, modifications, and revisions of the system to produce better doctors. For some reason the mindset now is all that experience is rubbish in the face of new technology.
The problem is that the most important person in the equation, the learner, has remained essentially the same in the last hundred years. I'm not sure all the technology in the world is going to make competent orthopedic surgeons in four or even three years, when we've learned that it takes five years!
I'm all for making education better and more efficient, but I dont think we give ourselves enough credit for what we currently do. I think we expect more out of technology than it may be able to provide. The learner should always remain the focus