E-learning is not a homogeneous, uniform formation, and that’s great. Really good e-learning is swarming with ideas, techniques, interactive solutions and methods coming from pedagogical disputes. One of such often used ideas or ways of training is “educational entertainment” or “edutainment”. This is a neologism, i.e., a two-word compound resulting from hybrid: educate + entertain, and means learning by having fun or training as entertainment. Admittedly, the term is newer than the technique itself – instructive, still entertaining explanation of the nature of things in the form of tales is known for thousands of years.
Since training around the campfire has been changed to something more modern, creating edutainment e-learning program means to prepare a stimulating learning materials, which are integrated into the working environment and explain even the most complex substances in a visually expressive and interactive way. Most often this type of training is applied to children, but in nowadays when the global trends are forcing also the adults to constantly re-acquire all sorts of educational stuff, “edutainment” is the right way not to collapse under the pressure – engaging in activities that people love and care about is one of the most effective forms of learning.
Briefly on the edutainment course specifics – edutainment e-course should be concise, accurate, easily comprehensible; to achieve it, developers often use video, powerful visual examples and activities, allowing the user to explore and build their own understanding. Edutainment e-learning course should consist of two types of content – part of which is primarily educational, but include entertaining value, and another part which is mostly entertaining, but include educational value.
Only it should not be seen as a carrot on a stick apprach. The problematics of edutainment courses lies in the way edutainment product creators often think about learning and education. Too often education is perceived as a bitter medicine in a need of sugar coating so that they become delicious and entertaining, and the entertainment is provided as a reward if you agree to endure a small dose of learning. Not to mention the extremes, where you will meet boastful promises that “you are going to have so much fun that you won’t even notice you learn things, too” – as if learning was the most unpleasant thing in the world. But it certainly isn’t! I do not have a single response to the question why the concept of learning suddenly has become something so “difficult” and “unpleasant” that it has to be masked by playing games, but I guess one of the reasons is natural and inevitable changes in the world, gradually taken over by the so-called Millennials or Y generation, and each generation has its own approach to everything including learning new things.