Edutainment makes learning bite-sized
The Future. Between popular education-focused TikTok and YouTube accounts and a raft of educational tech startups, a new movement to mix education with short-form entertainment is taking off… and people are showing up for class. The trend can make learning more dynamic, responsive, and fun… as long as rampant misinformation can be avoided.
Bill Nye the TikTok guy
Teaching is tough when attention spans are short. But Forbes reports that a short-form “edutainment” movement is proving popular.
- Bill Nye the Science Guy, the OG edutainment pioneer, has 9.2 million followers on TikTok watching his science-based videos — most 13 to 90 seconds long. (Even in the 90s, he had a rule that bits shouldn’t be longer than a minute and 49 seconds).
- Hank Green, a science communicator and entrepreneur (and brother of The Fault in Our Stars author John Green), answers random questions like “Why is space, which is full of stars, so dark?” and “How do induction cooktops work?” to his 7.4 million TikTok followers.
- Sal Khan, the founder of online education non-profit Khan Academy (which has 147 million registered users), built his following by posting math-explainer videos to YouTube. Most of those videos now run two to six minutes.
Not wanting to be left out, even textbook giant McGraw Hill launched a TikTok-like study app called Sharpen.
Bachelors in Edutainment
Where there is an audience, there is VC money ready to capitalize…
- GSV Holdings founder Michael Moe calls this TikTok over textbooks trend the “Hollywood meets Harvard” model and “Invisible Learning.” His firm has made investments in 16 of these kinds of companies.
- Avalanche VC’s Katelyn Donnelly calls the movement “efficacious edutainment.” Avalanche has made seven investments in the space.
And there are plenty of startups to pour money into, including Edgi Learning (which runs an education-focused AI chatbot called “edgi bot), Zigazoo (which makes videos and gamified learning experiences for kids), and Revyze (which makes educational videos focused on teens).
Looks like education is getting an update.