Edutainment as a content strategy: Why fun is your gateway to engagement

May 3, 2023

Roxanne Denman

Fun is not overrated. It’s a simple concept, with a powerful backstory. Regardless of your age, it serves as a time machine, taking you back to carefree, content childhood days. You know the ones with zero responsibility and little to no stress. A creative mindset where anything is possible. Playing allows our minds to wander in explorative, stimulating ways. 

It comes in many shapes and forms, with the result remaining the same. It relaxes us, reminding overworked and overstimulated adults to let loose and have a good time again. 

As we grow and mature, the idea of being playful or engaging in something fun tends to take a backseat to adult responsibility. In the same breath, “fun” and “education” aren’t often words used interchangeably. Most people think of learning as a journey to reach the end. Many see studying, attending class, and writing exams as just another chore on the list. But we forget that education isn’t just a privilege and a powerful tool to reach personal and career goals - it can be fun too.

Entertainment in education

Everything evolves. The past 100 years have seen incredible changes to the way that things are designed, all credited to innovation and creativity. From the Benz Patent Motor Car of 1886 to the 2023 BMW XM. Or the first basic telephone of 1849 to the trusty device you’re probably reading this on. Things changed based on how we use them, and the evolution of education is no different. Sure, the basic concept remains. People teach, and people learn - but the methods have evolved.

Not every institution is on board with the changes, but there is merit to introducing an immersive learning experience.

The key to a seamless transition could lie in Edutainment.

Edutainment focuses on the user experience, eradicating the perception of isolation in some programs by promoting collaboration. It has revolutionized how we learn and absorb information. Basically, as the name suggests, it’s education through entertainment. 

From interactive quizzes and games to immersive video content, Edutainment can make learning more enjoyable - and drives sales and learning outcomes.  

Should you use Edutainment in your content strategy? Join us as we traverse the world of Edutainment to see how it informs, entertains, and thoroughly inspires. 

What is Edutainment? 

It’s where fun and learning meet. Edutainment is considered any content that combines education with entertainment. It creates an engaging experience for the audience, laying the foundation for informing them about something important. 

And it makes learning fun. American illustrator, Peter Catalanotto, coined the term while teaching students about writing and illustration in the nineties. The concept spread when John Dewey, a celebrated American philosopher, encouraged experimental, engaging teaching methods to enhance student engagement and excitement when learning. 

Digitization has ignited the use of Edutainment  

Edutainment is becoming increasingly popular due to the prolific rise of digitization and social media. From online games and quizzes to virtual tours and interactive videos, there are countless ways to incorporate Edutainment into your marketing strategy.

Why does Edutainment work? 

I must confess that I have a short attention span. Many do!

Everyone has a unique learning style. The methods that you use to learn may render me catatonic, or vice versa!

Edutainment is a fine example of how education is evolving to be more inclusive of individuals who require different learning methods to be successful in their educational endeavors. 

“Edutainment is a way to build a relationship with your audience while adding value and helping students get the most enriching learning experience at the same time. Incorporate Edutainment into your content and get ready to inspire!” Roxanne Denman. 

Edutainment is a masterpiece in content for people who struggle to pay attention in conventional lessons - and acknowledges that some may have shorter attention spans than others, curating an accepting environment of inclusivity. But it’s not just about the attention span - it’s about whether or not the content is interesting enough to illicit focus. 

Edutainment increases the capacity for long-term memory

When in doubt, turn to the numbers! Time and time again, science is on the marketer’s side. According to a study by Berkeley on gamification, entertainment elements can improve memory recall by up to 60%.  It’s unsurprising, really. Anything worth remembering is entertaining in some form or another. Growing up in the 90s, and attending school in the early 2000s obviously means that I wasn’t exposed to much in the way of Edutainment. What I can tell you though, is that lessons conducted in the good old AV room seem to have stuck a little more than those in a cold and bland classroom. While I may not be part of this study, I can tell you exactly what I learned in Mrs. Fraser’s AV room in 2001, while watching a video recording of James and the Giant Peach. If you were to ask me what I learned in Mr. Reucassel’s math class in 2001 though - I mean, I couldn’t tell you. Long division maybe? Your guess is as good as mine.

Now of course, this tangent isn’t meant to discount traditional teaching methods - but it does highlight something pertinent, and that is - Edutainment is a viable method of getting the message across. 

One reason for this is that Edutainment content is often more engaging and interactive than traditional educational content, which can lead to a deeper level of cognitive processing and increased attention span.

Again - science comes in handy here. I won’t bore you with the details, but there is this really cool phenomenon known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law. This means that where arousal levels are low, i.e. you’re bored, or too high, i.e. you’re anxious - your brain is less likely to retain information. In a nutshell - if the content you’re learning, or watching is a snooze fest - your brain will file it away, probably never to be seen again. Now even if the content is interesting, but the stress of remembering it is too much, your brain will still lock it away. It’s doing its job by protecting you. (Aww!) 

Edutainment isn’t just video. It’s anything that is considered interactive. That means that storytelling can be just as powerful a tool as any! 

Using Edutainment to captivate an audience 

The realm of Edutainment is highly interactive. And as education marketers, that’s a green flag if I’ve ever seen one! Leveraging the power of immersive content in a strategy not only adds more value but also helps us connect with our audience on a personal and relatable level. 

Edutainment can also solidify the brand image. Edutainment content does something that other content may not - it engages the individuals and keeps their attention while releasing dopamine, evoking the emotions required to give the user an experience they remember long after the quiz, video, podcast, challenge, or VR presentation. And we all want to be remembered, right? 

Successful Edutainment campaigns

Strategies are nothing without success stories! 

  • Duolingo is a language-learning platform that has experienced wild success due to its gamification and Edutainment strategy. It offers a range of courses and makes learning fun with game-like elements such as levels, challenges, and rewards. With 500 million worldwide users, Duolingo flies the Edutainment flag high. 
  • Harvard Medical School created a social media campaign called HMS Live to share medical research and knowledge with a broader audience. The campaign used numerous Edutainment techniques, such as live video broadcasts, quizzes, and interactive infographics, to make complex medical concepts accessible and engaging for a general audience. The campaign reached over 120,000 followers on social media.

So it looks like Edutainment is here to stay - from in-app Edutainment to incorporating elements into social media campaigns - it can be a highly effective content strategy for education marketers.  

Measuring the success of Edutainment 

Now, of course, trying something new is only as good as the results that it yields. And as with any other tactic, the first thing you need to ask yourself is: what are your specific goals?

Is it creating more engagement on social media? Then track engagement metrics like likes, shares, comments, and views to help you analyze how your Edutainment content is doing. 

Are you looking to increase lead and conversion rates by driving website traffic? Then track site users, session duration, average time on page, and bounce rate, helping you discover how your content leads your audience to your webpage and sees what they do once there. 

If your strategy isn't working, you shouldn't give up immediately. Analyze, adjust, and let your creative juices flow. Edutainment is a think-out-the-box strategy that lends itself to being a trailblazer. Let your creativity lead the way! 

Measuring Edutainment success is crucial to understanding if Edutainment is a content strategy for your specific goals. By measuring the success of Edutainment, you can make data-driven decisions to optimize your content strategy for maximum engagement, retention, and learning outcomes.

What we think

If you’ve ever watched “Emily in Paris”, you’ll know that marketers are all about the fun. Sure, we may not paint the town red every night as the show suggests, but we are all kids at heart. If you ask us, that’s what makes a marketer successful. The ability to make a joke, have fun, dive into the creative, and create a stimulating environment for others to enjoy themselves as well. 

By making learning more engaging and enjoyable, Edutainment content can help to increase retention, drive engagement, and improve learning outcomes for students of all ages and backgrounds.

Edutainment breeds an inclusive and collaborative realm for students. It gives marketers insight into their audience and engages them at the same time, and if used wisely, Edutainment can generate leads and conversions. It’s a wholesome environment for all. Add a dash of fun, and you can count us in!

Digitization is here to stay, and Edutainment will continue to lead the way. As education marketers, we encourage you to leverage it for campaign success too.

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