The rise of Edutainment, and its implications.


I came across this little article recently from the NY Times, on the prevalence of the broader general public turning to education based entertainment for their downtime. Rather than merely switching off and not engaging their faculties.

Let me quote from the article:

What does it mean when people who can afford to spend their time however they please hunker down in front of their flat screens to watch theoretical physicists or experts on other subjects lecture for hours?

Entertainment values have come to dominate many aspects of life, but another trend has been playing out, too. Call it the academization of leisure. It can be found in the live-streaming TED Talks lectures, the Great Courses, learning vacations, podcasts, science centers, brain-training games and retirement communities like Lasell Village in Newton, Mass., whose residents must complete “a minimum of 450 hours of learning and fitness activity each calendar year,”…

I find this really fascinating, certainly the increase in ‘edutainment’ or more positively framed, the rise of a broadly educated populace, is appealing. In many ways having a broader education and knowledge base helps people think from their own frameworks, and analyse perspectives better. It should also help the general public engage in better and justifiable public discourse, rather than unsubstantiated positions.

However, on the flip-side it also leads to a rise in the outward exemplification of the Dunning-Kruger effect, where a little knowledge actually hinders engagement with longer term learning and education at a broader level.

Nevertheless, I am still optimistic about this trend, and will be interested to see how it plays out. Thoughts? How do you see it working in your context?


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