Learning doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can be a lot of fun. Edutainment is a term that has gained popularity in recent years for blending education and entertainment into one enjoyable experience.
Although it is not a new practice, technological innovations are offering an ever-increasing range of possibilities that continue to evolve day by day.
Thus, the introduction of playful elements through virtual reality, video games or the Internet of Things (IoT) is proving to be a driving force that is propelling education towards a more accessible, personalized education of the future that feeds the curiosity to continue learning.
This article will explore what edutainment is, its origins, benefits, and examples of its application.
What is edutainment?
Edutainment refers to the combination of education and entertainment. It involves using entertainment methods to teach educational content in a fun and engaging way.
Edutainment aims to create an environment where learning becomes an enjoyable experience rather than a chore.
It is an approach that has been used in various fields, such as museums, theme parks, television, and video games
One of its distinctive features is that edutainment is not only focused on the content, but also on the way in which the content is delivered.
Origins of edutainment
Although you may think that edutainment techniques are innovative, learning through play, according to several authors, has been part of humanity since its origins. In fact, it is the basis of learning prior to language itself.
In a more standardized way, edutainment took its first steps in the early twentieth century through the use of various paper games in the context of teaching.
Edutainment has its roots in the 1950s when the Walt Disney Company started producing educational content for children.
The company used animation and storytelling to teach lessons about science, history, and culture.
The term “edutainment” was coined in the 1970s, when educators and researchers began to explore the concept of using entertainment to enhance learning.
However, the introduction of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in education has been a great boost for this methodology.
Benefits of edutainment
At this point, it is clear that edutainment advocates for an active and participatory education that involves the student from the very beginning.
Additionally, it has other advantages that improve the acquisition of knowledge, competencies, and skills such as:
- Increases engagement with practice.
- Improves concentration and retention of information.
- Boosts creativity and imagination.
- Works on spontaneity.
- Drives cognitive and emotional development.
- Develops interpersonal skills.
- Is compatible with hybrid education that combines in-person and remote learning.
- Facilitates personalized learning journeys.
- The game dynamics encourage the student to verbalize their thinking in addition to providing a precise objective.
Precisely for this reason, this type of methodology yields excellent results in the context of professional team development.
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A well-known practical example was the television program Sesame Street, which began in the United States in 1969 and arrived in Spain ten years later. This broadcast revolutionized education by demonstrating that children could learn while having fun, although it is true that play and entertainment are natural learning strategies for children.
To illustrate the academic context, we want to share with you these three examples of educational entertainment:
- Gamification: This approach introduces certain game mechanics, such as badge systems, rewards, or leveling up, with the intention of motivating learning.
- Serious games: These are games specially designed for educational purposes and applied in different fields such as science, architecture, engineering, or politics. They use video games, virtual reality, or augmented reality as technological contexts.
- Playful learning: This is based on recreational education that combines creativity and play. An example of this would be audiovisual materials focused on learning, such as a song or a television program in which an animated character encourages counting. This is similar to the educational program we mentioned earlier.
- Role-playing games: These are often used in video games where as the student progresses, a non-intrusive evaluation of their performance is carried out.
Edutainment and technology
As we mentioned earlier, technologies have opened up endless possibilities in education 3.0. Video games, applications, or digital content of different types are tools that also require creativity from teachers.
In the near future, although it is already being successfully introduced in some educational projects, virtual reality is a compelling and stimulating factor that allows for immersive and highly personalized learning, which also promotes curiosity and the need to continue learning.
On the other hand, the Internet of Things (IoT) plays a transcendental role in the transformation of education thanks to all the tools it provides, such as smart boards, interactive supports, etc.
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