Edutainment in the conservation environment
Striking a balance
From zoos and aquariums to wildlife and safari parks, there is a balance that conservation organisations have to consider. Striking that balance, between educating and inspiring our passion for the natural world, whilst delivering the right level of entertainment and engagement expected at a visitor attraction, can be challenging.
There are many examples of attractions using technology to enhance the visitor experience to improve our day out, but how much of that focus is placed upon us learning more about what we have actually come to see, and more importantly, extending that focus beyond the visit to the “after experience” to create wider outreach and learning opportunities.
The passion of attraction wildlife teams across the world ensures that animal welfare is always the primary focus when creating environments for audiences to experience
nature - the challenge however, is how to ensure that guests are inspired and engaged along the way to join the conservation journey.
Making better use of technology
Whilst the custodians of our zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks do a fantastic job to educate us all, how can we make better use of technology to enrich the learning experience even more both before, during and more importantly after the visit?
Yes, there is a difficult divide, and the view of the industry is that we must use technology with sensitivity to ensure that it never detracts from the real-world experience of seeing some of our world’s most wonderful species up close and personal. Much of the challenge centres around making sure there is a seamless integration between what is being observed versus what can be learnt, and how you achieve this in an intuitive way that inspires us whilst still being entertaining.
The dawn of edutainment
At n-gage.io we talk about the Audience of the Future, an immersive and interactive audience that seamlessly learns by doing and experiencing. The rise of the phrase “Edutainment” is verging on a new dawn of technology adoption where education and entertainment combine to create a seamless, interactive experience using technology.
By their very nature, the industry works hard to ensure wildlife collections are observed in their natural environments as closely as possible. However by definition, doing so can often be a barrier to preventing the high levels of audience interactivity required to inspire and create that deep admiration for wildlife and its conservation.
Bridging the gap
For some time, technology has provided ways for us to get much closer to the things we enjoy, with new immersive mobile experiences and technology applications changing the way we experience the world around us from entertainment to sports, visitor attractions, hospitality and retail. Technology is now enabling the sector to create even better experiences that can build deeper and more meaningful connections with their visitors, inspiring them to take a closer look into the world of conservation.
Remaining “always open”
The pandemic hit the attractions industry hard, and there is no denying that it will take some time to fully recover. During the last 18 months we have seen the industry respond to visitor demand, making good use of available technology to continue to reach out to the audiences and communities they serve. From Facebook live events to educational Youtube videos, the sector has continued to engage, educate and entertain throughout. As we return to some form of normality however, what lessons have we learned and how can we take these experiences to improve the before, during and more importantly the after experience to ensure we can remain always open.
According to the latest Visit England Visitor Attractions Trends Report, only 18% of attractions surveyed currently use any form of mobile application. And during the previous 18 months school visits fell by 84% across the industry resulting in countless lost learning opportunities. Moving forward, how can we future-proof the industry to ensure that they are always able to maintain those meaningful experiences both on and off-site?
The perfect blend
Operators appreciate that entertainment and education are no longer separate priorities, and through a combination of new capabilities and technologies, our zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums can now look forward to a more seamless edutainment experience that will not only delight audiences on-site, but help educate and deepen engagement around their conservation mission in a more intuitive way.
The ultimate solution
n-gage.io is an audience engagement platform powering immersive, engaging and educational mobile-web experiences. With operator capability to build interactive and educational experiences “out of the box”, n-gage.io delivers a unique blend of edutainment functionality including content enrichment, remote triggering, instant messaging, gamification and interactive learning to deepen visitor outreach and engagement both on and off-site. For operators the platform delivers actionable behavioural insights to help improve the visitor experience and ultimately the way in which audiences are inspired to embrace the conservational journey.
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