Sometimes rants are not clear, and that is my fault.
When I referred to "educational theory" I specifically was referring to the theory that Salman Khan has espoused (go back and click on the appropriate links). I was not talking about professional education "experts".
Khan's theory matches an approach that I have written about in the past, prior to hearing him and reading his book. We should not expect learners to succeed unless we insure mastery of the basics.
I do not favor "dumbing down" medical school, rather I want to make certain (as Cory writes) that the students develop mastery of the information that they must know before we add the more complex. We should invest yearly in defining the basic sciences that all medical students must know to properly learn clinical medicine.
Instead of trying to teach renal physiology in toto, we should teach basic concepts and then build on those. At each step we should measure and require mastery at each step. This approach demands that we know what knowledge is necessary and what knowledge might be necessary in the future.
One advantage of this approach is that we could send updates to upper level students, residents and practicing physicians, as updates are needed.
My colleague Terry S. recognizes that today's learners have access to different learning possibilities than we had in the 1970s. Podcasts, videos, blogs and twitter can all help one learn. Lectures are the worst way to provide information.
Our goal is simple, help our students learn the stuff that they must know. Let's define what that is and figure out creative ways to provide the information.