What is Edutainment?

Edutainment, a portmanteau of the words “education” and “entertainment,” refers to technologies and software products that combine education with entertainment in some way. In the digital age, many of these products and technologies seek to make education more attractive to young people and students. Edutainment technology comes in many forms. A streaming video platform or a prepackaged learning product can be categorized as edutainment if it has both entertainment and educational value. 

An app for a mobile phone, auto dashboard or projection screen can also be classified as examples of edutainment technology. Many edutainment tools may make use of delightful mascots or characters, either digital or in real-life films, in order to sell the entertainment value of the product. Edutainment is very much an issue in developing modern digital and hybrid curriculum for the classroom, and for supplementary educational use.

"The aim of the poet is to inform or delight, or to combine together, in what he says, both pleasure and applicability to life."
Horace
(Ancient Rome)

If replace the word “poet” in Horace’s dictum with “Edutainment”, the sentence is still valid. The main aim of Edutainment, is to make children acquire knowledge in a more joyful, more relaxing, yet more efficient way. The Flow Theory was first proposed by Csikszentmihalyi in 1975, it explained why people are fully immerse into situations when they engaged in certain daily activities, filtered out all unrelated sensations and reach full concentration. This state is described as “flow”. Since the birth of electronic games, almost all games have tried to make players “immersed into” the game itself. 

The result of the immersion experience is:

Promote interest in learning

Stimulate learner's exploration behavior

Stimulate learner's usage of information technology

Behavioral control

Since video games can provide in-time feedback on user behavior, it is easy to keep users immersed.

In another word, video games can always keep users in the most comfortable space that are not too simple or boring, as well as not being too difficult and frustrating.

This leaves a lot of room for the combination of games and education: in traditional learning, whether students listening to the teacher, self-study or doing exercises, there is a lack of feedback and interaction, so students can not concentrate enough.

Unlike traditional learning, Edutainment can adjust the difficulty of “teaching” at any time, so that the entire learning process is always at the level of “you can do it with a little effort”.

This is the most basic idea of combination of games and education.