Edutainment, as a mode of training, is fast becoming popular among individuals looking to sharpen their skills
On the net, edutainment is described as a neologism similar to infotainment, that expresses a combination of education and entertainment in the form of media such as a TV programme, video games or live streaming through a website, intended to be both educational and enjoyable.
This holds special relevance in today’s workplace, where every minute matters and where skilling is an integral part of capacity building. For years, learning professionals have strived to find the perfect balance of “instructional integrity” and amusement, to capture the imagination and retain the attention of busy learners, and, edutainment seems to be the perfect answer.
Learn on the go
Most edutainment modes often require no homework, tests or pressure. One learns or listens at any time, while exercising, commuting, or just relaxing. TED talks, for example, cover almost all topics — from science, business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Another popular mode includes podcasts. This is also a great way to learn languages, if the job posting is in another country. You can download the podcasts, essentially creating a radio station focused entirely on the topics you want to listen to. Most of them are available free of cost, as video and audio programmes distributed over the Internet, and can be viewed on your televisions, laptops, tablets, or even smartphones.
To sharpen their skills and maximise employability, professionals turn to sites such as CreativeLive.com, where they can fine-tune their Photoshop expertise, or learn how to use Instagram as a sales channel. The site has served more than two billion minutes of free education to every country, streamed live from the company’s broadcast studios in Seattle and San Francisco. Here, there is a difference though. Initially, the classes are free, and then a charge is levied for on-demand access. This generates revenue to employ better teachers and improve production value.
But are these edutainment modes really effective? Today’s training must educate individuals by imparting skills, transferring knowledge, and producing desired results. Thus, training must be conducted in ways that are engaging and interactive, as per the VAK (visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning) model where, people watch material, listen to other trainees and a trainer, and finally move around the room and take part simulations.
These days, there are some proponents of “engagucation” or engagement in learning, which people say, trumps edutainment. By studying the needs of learners (employees) in advance, and preparing skilling modules specifically meant to challenge and engage them, this mode is more focused, applicationoriented and even shorter, in many cases. This leaves learners more informed about the topic, and they can apply lessons learnt to their work, better. Trainer or module selection requires careful background checks.
Help your trainer know the trainees — their age, experience, education, job functions, current challenges, and so on. Management should work with the trainer and perhaps even attend sessions. Take regular feedback from trainees to improve modules. Whether you choose edutainment or engagucation as the mode of training, monitoring the results of any training or skilling is important. The mode of training is crucial. For example, The World Bank’s 2015 World Development Report “Mind, Society and Behavior” notes that entertainment education or the purposeful use of mass media entertainment may be an effective tool to change norms and behaviours for millions of individuals, especially among poor and less educated populations. So, different modes in the development sector, vis-à-vis the corporate sector, would be required.
By 2030, many of the world’s largest economies will have more jobs than adult citizens, to do those jobs. There are suggestions that countries may need to look across borders for mobile and willing job seekers. in work