This mix-and-match approach can boost motivation to learn, but attitudes are mixed. Edutainment is an approach that combines education and entertainment.

How do the more familiar concepts of "gamification" and "game pedagogy" relate to entertainment?

According to paperhelp (, gamification is the elements of a game that motivate some non-game action. They are often used, for example, in online courses, when the student receives "currency" for passing a stage or completing a task, and it can be exchanged for prizes, or when there is a competition awarding the winners, and the excitement turns on. Elements of gamification are also used in programs built on the concept of Edutainment.

Game pedagogy implies learning through a game. That is, an educational component is added to the game. Edutainment-program may also be built according to the principles of game pedagogics, but the key word here is "entertainment" and not "game." In game-pedagogics, entertainment is not always present because the game may be not entertaining but challenging and serious.

It turns out that elements of game-pedagogy, gamification, and more can be components of the program in the concept of Edutainment but can also be used separately from this approach.

Who invented Edutainment and when?

Abroad, this term usually refers to media content - educational films, television and radio programs, computer programs, and services with an entertainment element.

Walt Disney first used the word edutainment itself in 1954 to describe the nature documentary series True-Life Adventures. In 1974, the British zoologist Robert Heyman called National Geographic shows by this term.

Back then, video-based learning was not as widespread as it is now. It seemed unusual: "Wow, we're watching TV in class!"

And now video content no longer surprises anyone. And so, while the principle remains the same - "learning + entertainment," today's edutainment programs have other entertaining elements.

With the help of an example, can you explain what is represented by an educational program?

The classic example of an educational program in the form of a TV show is Sesame Street. These cartoon characters taught young viewers to read and count, name colors, and. Workbooks with these characters were also sold. With that program's help, a child could prepare for school or additionally develop in the elementary grades.

What, after all, is there more in Edutainment - training or entertainment? Is it more training with elements of entertainment or vice versa?

As a rule, training is the primary element. The educational program's foundation is usually built in the educational benefit. What are the participants supposed to learn? How will we measure the results? These questions are the starting point for developing a new program or modifying an existing one. Entertainment here serves to get participants interested in the topic and immerse them in the educational process.

But sometimes, it is the other way around. For example, a purely recreational camp, where children come for recreation, decides to add an educational component to its program. In this case, learning will be tailored to the entertainment already in the camp program. The power of Edutainment is that even such an artificial addition can end up looking organic.

What's the point of Edutainment anyway? Is it impossible to study without entertainment?

Edutainment helps a lot to engage in learning. Obviously, in the case of young children, this is especially important - it is difficult for them to keep their attention on the lesson, and they quickly get bored if they have to repeat something or if the task seems challenging. But it also works with adults. The mission of the adult-education program is to level out these difficulties, captivate the participant (or the trainee) with the game shell, and immerse him or her in the learning process. The involvement is organic if the educational program is well prepared and elaborated.

Another critical point is that the game metaphor (i.e., the game world and the story embedded in the program) is closely connected with the theme of learning. A playful story, as a rule, helps to understand what we want to teach and opens up additional meanings. For example, a program devoted to emotional intelligence might be a story about participants saving a character with empathy.

Sounds good, but is there any benefit to learning for fun? After all, there's no real, serious motivation to learn.

There is such a problem. For example, a user gets "hooked" on a gamified application, say, for learning foreign languages and actively promotes it at first. But if he has no intrinsic motivation to learn a language, the inspiration from game elements will not last very long.

That is why you cannot go far on just one initiative. You have to work with intrinsic motivation, too. You can focus, for example, on Gerald Grow's concept of self-directed learning. Its essence is that the student moves from a dependent position to a self-directed one, taking an increasingly active role in his learning.

Grow identifies four stages in this process: dependent, interested, engaged, and self-directed. Edutainment is needed in the first two stages. If the person does not yet understand why he or she needs to learn, we give the meaning of this through the introduction, add emotions, and include characters in the story who encourage him or her, and it works.

At the stage of interest, there may be a lack of motivation for independent learning, and entertaining elements become a means of support. They immerse students in the process, help them get engrossed, and help them form a habit of learning.

When students are immersed and active, the entertainment component fades into the background. And when they get tired, the Edutainment will support them again with extra motivation. So a balance is essential here.

By the way, self-directed participants - goal-oriented people who are motivated to learn - can even be annoyed by the entertainment component - they need knowledge, and everything else only distracts them.

All games, sooner or later, get boring. The entertainment components of learning can also get boring, right?

At lectures on how to incorporate gamification into training, experts often say that the dynamics of engagement change as the workout progresses. In the beginning, participants enjoy the entertaining elements, and the engagement grows, but then it all gets boring, and the activity drops. That is why entertainment and game elements in programs are usually placed in waves: at the beginning of training, there is a strong game component, then it weakens a little, then it appears again - and so on until the final educational goal is achieved.

Is Edutainment suitable only for familiarization with a topic or for in-depth study?

Here it is worth separating basic education, such as school education and supplementary education. In the first case, a teacher can't develop all the educational programs in the edutainment concept - it requires a great deal of time and effort. But it is possible to add elements of emerging to specific lessons.

In additional education, the depth of an educational program depends on its duration, the target audience, the educational task, and the number of resources. If there is such a request and the resources are sufficient, it is possible to make a large, in-depth educational program entirely in the format of an educational program.

What kind of entertainment elements are usually used in the Edutainment?

There are a lot of them, and new ones regularly appear in our arsenal. Some are elements of gamification, some are from game practice, and others are hard to pin down to anything in particular.

The main thing about the entertainment component of an edutainment program is the game metaphor. It consists of an elaborate game world (say, a space station, a science lab, and so on), characters, and the story unfolds within it.

Several important elements of the Edutainment concept are responsible for supporting this metaphor. Among them is the image of the facilitator or organizer. For example, in a session devoted to the War of 1812, the presenter plays the role of Napoleon, and his appearance, speech, body language, and so on should correspond to this image. It is also important to immerse participants in the topic of the program in advance at the introduction or purchase stage. A welcome box (a set with themed content such as merch), a video invitation, or a letter is used to inform them. And of course, the atmosphere of the space is very important. Its design should correspond with the theme of the educational program and help the participants to believe that, for example, to practice communicative skills, they are flying to visit aliens on a real rocket.

Gamification elements often include in-game currency. With it, you can buy, for example, merchandise or game items. Unlike the currency, some points are not spent by participants and bring them levels or ranks, as in video games. You can make ratings and boards of honor, noting the achievements of the participants.

They also use the Challenges - tasks within the concept for which the award is given. There are interactive objects - something with which you can interact and give participants some information. For example, it could be a robot or a voice assistant.

An important element is the traditions that participants learn through the program. And no program can do without such an element of role-playing as a special thesaurus (vocabulary). For example, within the edutainment camp concept, there are no "counselors" or "teachers," but rather "scientists," "astronauts," "lab technicians," and so on. Any name within a story dictates its function and corresponding image.

And what methods of teaching are practiced in the educational approach?

Primarily active teaching methods, where the participant is a subject of the educational process. That is, he/she acquires knowledge independently by experiencing some experience, while the teacher's task is to support, guide, and correct it.

It can be a role-playing game, project learning, case study, watching and discussing videos, debates, discussions, brainstorming, and various practical tasks. In addition, art techniques, conducting experiments, and constructing mind maps are often used.

Active methods are well combined with Edutainment and work effectively even with little interested participants who would be bored, for example, at ordinary lectures.

But, of course, you can't put 15 active methods in a row and expect participants to be excited. Sitting and listening is also important elements of the educational process. And giving participants time to relax is also necessary.