We all know from our personal experience that learning while having fun is more effective. Granted, the notion of “fun” may differ a lot from one individual to the other, but still, it is important to consider that spicing up education with a little bit of fun – that is, including entertainment into the educational process – may improve students’ engagement and their learning outcomes.
Obviously, we can debate about the extent to which entertainment should be added to education, as the two should not be considered equally important. Education is also about discipline, work, and the desire to go beyond your limits. But when we add a little bit of entertainment to this mix, the results can turn out to be quite surprising.
With edtech solutions, edutainment can be used in a wide range of educational contexts and reach more students, especially those who don’t have access to onsite state-of-the-art educational services.
Let’s see how edutainment end edtech can be joined in offering students all over the world more enriching, more entertaining, and more effective learning experiences.
The good addiction: binging on learning videos
In the era of streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, and the likes, binging on TV series has become a common form of entertainment. So why not adapt this consumer behavior to the educational process and give students binging experiences with educational content?
Teachers can pair up with technicians, create educational videos and post them online for students to watch. In an LMS, these videos can have their dedicated place in a course design and thus be available all the time. If they are both entertaining and educative, they might become a good addiction for any avid learner.
Learning quests to spark curiosity
What if instead of learning vocabulary in a conventional way, that is, going through a textbook, highlighting the new words, finding their meaning, using them in sentences, etc., you could go on a quest and discover them?
For instance, when students learn culinary vocabulary, they could go on a quest across the world to find spices, as Portuguese explorers did a few centuries ago, but without all the unnecessary violence that tends to be forgotten nowadays. Oculus offers nice VR solutions for those interested in designing quests for students.
Gaming to the rescue
Quests are just one example of the numerous gaming solutions which can be used in edutainment by educators of all grades. While playing games, students can access a wide range of information and content that can help them easily remember what they need.
Good games have the advantage of creating an entire universe, in which one can immerse oneself and be “in the zone.” In a state of flow, people perform better and are more engaged.
So, to all the teachers out there: don’t be afraid of games! Bring them into the classroom and use them to boost engagement and performance!
A detective novel about semiotics?
I discovered the novel “Saussure Suggests” by chance while reading an essay about semiotics, the science of signs. It is both a murder mystery and a textbook in which renowned semioticians are interviewed about a murder that took place while they were all having lunch together at the victim’s home.
The dialogues in the novel/textbook are about strategies to find the killer while at the same time shedding light bout semiotics itself: its scope, its ramifications, its most representative approaches. One can learn and have fun at the same time — if you enjoy reading that kind of novel, that is.
Another famous example is the word-wide bestseller Sophie’s World, a novel about the history of philosophy. The novel can become an audiobook, and perhaps it will be even more enjoyable for those who prefer to listen instead of reading.
Learning while having fun is not only possible but also desirable. Whenever possible, we should allow our students to make memories while learning, especially if we want long-lasting results. Winston Churchill famously said: “I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” The same goes for many of our students.
So, we should give a chance to edutainment in the classroom!
Veronica is a University lecturer with years of experience in language learning, a translator and interpreter, and a life-long learner.