Edutainment 101: Storytelling in Learning & Education
One of the biggest markets for a business is the education market.
And what can be nobler than educating others??
I view education like a peanut butter sandwich.
Imagine eating a sandwich with only peanut butter.
I know some savages who do that.
In my opinion, that’s suboptimal (and nasty).
I believe peanut butter and jelly is where the money is at.
The jelly in this situation is entertainment.
Education and entertainment are a match made in heaven.
Whose bright idea was it to separate the 2??
Storytelling in learning is a profound way to make an impact in the education market.
Whether you’re a teacher, an upcoming entrepreneur, or a veteran in your industry…
Let’s learn how to incorporate storytelling into learning.
The Purpose of Education
Education stems from the Latin word ‘educere’, which means to draw out.
Doesn’t it feel like when you KNOW something, that you have always known it?
When was the last time something ‘clicked’ for you?
That feeling of something ‘clicking’ is the same feeling as inspiration.
A teacher’s goal is to give that feeling of inspiration to their students.
To spark inspiration, a little bit of edutainment goes a long way.
This is when education and entertainment shake hands.
Edutainment is when education pieces have an entertaining element to them.
There are different philosophies in regards to edutainment.
My personal philosophy is to lead with education and sprinkle in entertainment.
I know people who have the exact opposite philosophy.
They aim to be entertaining first and sprinkle in education.
All forms of entertainment have a level of storytelling involved.
Stories have insights and feelings.
In the land of stories, all feelings are good feelings.
A few weeks ago, I read the biography of Walt Disney.
I thought it was going to be a book about how he was always a storytelling genius.
But that wasn’t the case.
- Walt started drawing.
- Went from drawing still images to becoming obsessed with moving animation.
- Bankrupted his first company.
- Was told by his father to be more practical.
- Was backstabbed by multiple business partners.
- Created Snow White.
On and on…
The book felt like a roller coaster.
And it felt like a roller coaster because all emotions were embraced.
How to Use Storytelling in Learning and Education
Whether you are learning or doing the teaching, storytelling is what I call, systems thinking.
This type of thinking requires focusing on the big picture first, so the individual parts make more sense.
When learning, the intent is to get a big picture view.
The big picture view is earned through curiosity, reps, and ending each day a bit smarter.
Giving someone else the big picture view is what educating is all about.
To train the mind to think big picture:
- Know A Lot.
Then, boil everything down to simplicity by asking:
- What REALLY matters?
These 3 words ^^ gets the brain thinking larger and wider.
As it begins focusing on the bigger picture, that’s when we have a strong understanding of what information to relay.
Now it’s a game of communicating that message.
How to Tell Educational Stories
An educational story can be tackled in a multitude of ways.
One of the easiest ways to reverse engineer a tale is to first ask:
What is the theme I’d like to convey?
There are different ways to get themes.
Popular writer, R.L Stine, gets the title of his books first and then writes the content.
From the title, he knows the ‘gist’ of his books.
Walt Disney used to assess how his characters talked.
From there, he was able to create suitable narratives.
Since we are focusing on education, think:
What is the lesson I would like to convey?
All stories don’t need a happy ending.
But all stories need a lesson.
By knowing the lesson that you’re writing to convey, it becomes much easier to distill the big picture data into meaningful information.
Let’s try an example…
Example of Storytelling In Learning and Education
I currently run a YouTube channel where I tell short stories that are meant to teach engineers and entrepreneurs soft skills.
I once told a story about how I was hanging with a group of people in a circle.
There was this friend who kept turning his back on me.
When he would turn his back to me, I would be edged out of the circle.
This guy meant well.
However, he had no clue that he was committing this gaffe.
Instead of calmly telling him not to turn his back on me…
I grabbed him by the shoulder and ripped him back.
He was furious and pushed me.
I pushed him back.
That story had a few lessons.
One lesson was:
- Don’t turn your back on someone in a circle.
The second lesson was:
- When someone commits an error, they often have no clue they are committing it.
Third lesson was:
- Others aren’t mind readers.
Rather than dryly stating the lessons in lecture form.
The 3 lessons came to life thru the use of a narrative.
Merging Education and Entertainment
With entertainment, it’s all about leaving the door open.
I know tons of reserved people who aren’t intentionally trying to be an entertainer.
I’m like that.
My goal with my content is not to try to entertain first.
However, I’ve noticed there have been a handful of times when someone messaged me saying:
‘When you said such and such, it was hilarious!’
Popular comedian, Tracy Morgan, was once like:
‘I just tell the truth, and others seem to find it funny.’
So, just leaving the door open for informality allows for humor and entertainment from your end.
The name of the game is knowing that education is not in a compartment of its own.
Rather, it goes best with entertainment.
That’s the peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the heart.
For more practical strategies to level up your storytelling skills, be sure to check out:
- The Art and Science of Storytelling Book.
This book will teach you how to:
- Create relatable characters.
- Form compelling plots.
- Use entertainment and education together.
- Design vivid settings.
And much more!