Entertainment and Learning


Fun Learning


Bringing fun and amusement to formal learning

Principal Metaphors

Discourses associated with Entertainment and Learning are highly diverse, and so it would be inappropriate to link them to a unified cluster of metaphors. That said, the following notions work across most cases:
  • Knowledge is … objectives or goals
  • Knowing is … appropriate action
  • Learner is … an actor in need of motivation
  • Learning is … (tedious) acquisition or attainment
  • Teaching is … providing motivation through entertainment



Synopsis & Commentary

Ostensibly, “entertainment” encompasses any form of engagement that involves fun or amusement. However, within education, the notion is applied most often to media productions aimed at influencing learning and learners. With that in mind, in our reviews of the discourses associated with Entertainment and Learning, we have been unable to identify a coherent through line, as they vary dramatically (and perhaps irreconcilably) around conceptions of learning, practices of teaching, and attitudes toward knowledge. We thus offer this entry as a sort of clearinghouse of discourses on learning that focus on fun and/or amusement. We begin with those that explicitly invoke the word “entertainment,” after which we list the titles of discourses and subdiscourses that invoke “play,” “toys,” and/or “games.” Notably, these latter discourses tend to be more explicit about assumptions, as elaborated elsewhere on this site (accessible through the Alphabetical Index).
  • Edutainment (Educational Entertainment) (1950s) – combining the words “educate” and “entertainment,”Edutainment can be applied to media that includes formal content and that is presented in a manner intended to amuse
  • Entertainment-Education (EE) – pieces of entertainment that are tailored to specific social issues, aimed at raising consciousness, encouraging shifts in behavior, and prompting social change
  • Social Impact Entertainment (SIE) – pieces of mainstream entertainment that aim secondarily to have social impact
Main Entries: Associated Discourses and Subdiscourses:
  • Associative Play
  • Cooperative Play
  • Free Play
  • Guided Play
  • Independent Play (Solitary Play)
  • Ludic Learning (Ludic Pedagogy)
  • Make-Believe Play
  • Onlooker Play
  • Parallel Play
  • Play
  • Unoccupied Play
Main Entry: Associated Discourses and Subdiscourses:
  • Manipulatives
  • Froebel Gifts
  • Montessori Sensorial Materials
  • Waldorf Doll (Steiner Doll)
  • Objects-To-Think-With
Main Entries: Associated Discourses and Subdiscourses:
  • Educational Games
  • Reacting Games
  • Games for Change (G4C)
  • Serious Games (Applied Games)

Authors and/or Prominent Influences

Wildly diffuse

Status as a Theory of Learning

To our analysis, few proponents of Entertainment and Learning are especially attentive to the complex dynamics of learning, apart from emotional and motivational aspects of fun and amusement.

Status as a Theory of Teaching

All discourses associated with Entertainment and Learning are principally concerned with teaching – and, most often, in relation to specific content.

Status as a Scientific Theory

Owing to their diversity of interests, it makes little sense to attempt to offer a one-size-fits-all characterization of the scientific statuses of discourses associated with Entertainment and Learning. In some instances, projects appear to be informed by careful study and principled action. Most often, however, it would appear that little attention is given to empirical study of learning.  


  • Edutainment (Educational Entertainment)
  • Entertainment-Education
  • Social Impact Entertainment

Map Location

Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2023). “Entertainment and Learning” in Discourses on Learning in Education. https://learningdiscourses.com.

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