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Unconventional Learning Experience

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The show you're watching is not made for educational purposes, nor is it a total Aesop magnet. It most certainly isn't full of And Knowing Is Half the Battle sequences at the end of each episode. It may not even be a hundred percent accurate about what it's depicting, and that's entirely for Rule of Cool, Rule of Funny, or any of the other Rules. But it's still, oddly enough, an educational experience — you have a better understanding of the topic it depicts than you did before.

It's a trend that's increased in time over the Internet, as wikis and fansites are very adept at dissecting the Genius Bonuses that various works have to offer, and creators realise this and start to insert more and more references to things they are interested in and know a lot about. This creates a viable middle ground — it's not essential to enjoying the story, but it adds another dimension to it if you're willing to keep your mind open to it.

It stops short of From Entertainment to Education, which is the point at which actual educational institutions think you can learn from the show in an academic setting. See also I Read It for the Articles, which may point to this sort of thing happening but isn't necessarily true. Not to be confused with an Accidental Aesop, where the lesson learned comes from a misinterpretation, intentional or otherwise, of the original lesson, or with Space Whale Aesop, where the "lesson" learned quite literally comes out of nowhere with no relation to the circumstances of the story. See Shameful Source of Knowledge for a related In-Universe trope.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • While you shouldn't take the National Stereotypes as fact, and a lot of details had to be trimmed around (especially the Nazis), Hetalia: Axis Powers can teach you a lot about the World Wars if you look behind the lighthearted comedy.
  • While Dragon Ball does not even pretend to accurately portray martial arts, it does convey "achievement through effort" fairly well. Rigorous training is not only shown to be beneficial, but also repetitive, boring, frustrating, and incredibly time consuming. Achievement in one's field comes at the expense of other admirable life pursuits, and the unhealthiness of being too single-minded is explored. Finally, perseverance is shown to have diminishing returns without rest and recovery. Reading Dragon Ball doesn't teach self defense, but one can take lessons away from how to go about learning or improving in any number of pursuits.
  • Digimon is basically a crash course in theology, both Eastern and Western. The card game and several characters draw parallels to multiple cultures and traditions. The third series relates to Eastern principles such as the idea of a Deva as well the Four Animals of the Earth, and villains are based on the Eastern Zodiac. There's even a Taomon. The following series is Western based, with the ideas of Seraphim and Ophan, as well as Lucifer himself as the real Big Bad, with several allusions to his origins and portrayal in Paradise Lost.
  • Bungo Stray Dogs is chock full of references to classic literature from various parts of the world (mostly Japan and America, but also Russia, England, and France so far), from the characters and their abilities to the relationships between them. The translator's notes pointing out references here and there is educational enough as it is, and fans tend to be influenced to read the works referenced in the series as well.
  • Killing Bites' plot concerning half-human half-animal hybrids mainly serves as fuel for flashy, blood-soaked fights and Fanservice, but that doesn't take away from the fact that many of the attacks, skills, and even character personalities on display actually have a basis in zoology, with the show regularly cutting away from a fight to explain how a fighter's behavior or actions relates to the actual animal.
  • Similarly, Kemono Friends and its predecessor video game were just fun stories about animal girls that occasionally had information about their base animals, but it really got people taking up an interest in the animal kingdom and some of the species featured on the show, to the point where some zoos owed their continued success to it. There is even a wiki that contains information about their real-life counterparts, correlating the characters and the animals.
  • One Piece isn't even going to pretend to give you any massive insight into the real-world history of piracy, but it does make a lot of references to that history. Its allusions to both well-known and obscure real-life pirates makes the series a fairly comprehensive "who's-who", especially with regard to Blackbeard and the people associated with him — everything from his various aliases to the legend of the man who captured him having freakish invulnerability.
    • It also takes the time to teach the viewer about deep sea currents as the Straw Hats approach Fish-Man Island.
  • Honoo no Alpen Rose is set in Switzerland before the outbreak of World War II and is a goldmine of Swiss culture and history — Henri Guisan was indeed a real person who opposed the Nazis, and the story correctly shows that they speak German and French there. If you were a kid in Italy/the Middle East during The '80s, this was probably your first introduction to Switzerland's role in the Second World War. The story also highlights the financers of the arms manufacturing during the war, and name-drops Basil Zaharoff.
  • The Gundam franchise leans into fairly hard science fiction, with space colonies based on real concepts of producing Artificial Gravity through cylindrical rotation and using large mirrors for energy and light. They also, on occasion, include references to Lagrange Points where such colonies would naturally be deployed.
  • My Dress-Up Darling ends up being this trope twice over: once for the intricacies, emotions, and struggles surrounding the growing Cosplay culture; and then (to a smaller yet equally-significant extent) towards the profession of making Hina Dolls.
  • Though not usually billed as educational, many Doraemon stories bring up trivia about science, nature, history, and culture, which often form the basis for plots or gadgets.
  • Robot Romance Trilogy:
    • Voltes V: In some episodes, the characters go into detail about concepts such as Warp Theory, broken down in the simplest of terms for their target demographic of young children. The anime is also chock-full of references to the French Revolution.
    • Daimos: Kyoshiro frequently quotes famous philosphers and authors, including Nietszche, Marx, Goethe, Shakespeare and Descartes, amongst others. Episode 27 has Dr. Izumi explain Tachyons to the viewer and try to prove that they exist.

    Comic Books 
  • Peter David tells a story from back when he was still writing The Incredible Hulk of how his daughter's second grade school teacher once sent him a note informing him that if he kept allowing her to read comic books, her vocabulary would be sub-par and her reading level stunted. So David pulled out three or four issues of The Hulk he had on hand and started writing down some of the notable words used in the dialogue and narration. Words like "sepulcher" and "cravenly" and "inconsolable" and "cylindrical". He then asked if it was usual for a second grader to not only read such words, but to know their definitions. He then closed his case.
  • Alan Moore's comics are filled with a wealth of detail about science, history, mythology, literature and feature a range of allusions:
    • Watchmen is one of the earliest exposures to high-level quantum physics for most non-specialists and cited as an inspiration for other depictions of Quantum Mechanics Can Do Anything such as Lost and Bioshock Infinite. It also thematically explores multiple codes of ethics, including deontology and utilitarianism, and the flaws and strengths of each.
    • From Hell is an exhaustively detailed look at late Victorian London, and thanks to the extensive footnotes of the complete edition, it often serves as a complete primer about Jack the Ripper and an introduction to psychogeography and fractal maths.
    • Promethea likewise has introduced many readers to the occult, and Moore intended it to be largely educational in nature.
    • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is essentially the coolest literature major course you always wanted to attend.
    • V for Vendetta is, alongside The Dispossessed, a fine primer on anarchy. Fittingly, it doesn't provide any easy answers. How very anarchist of it.
  • A lot of Neil Gaiman's comic works, books, and novels are pretty well researched and entertaining. There's an extensive number of people, from fans to big names in literature to celebrities, who have become interested in the subjects he usually researches, including history, mythology (Nordic myths his specialty), religion, fiction in general, and even authors that he recommends or writes as characters in his stories.
  • Similarly to Moore, Grant Morrison also tends to put a lot of thought and effort into their works, making them not only highly entertaining but also highly cerebral.
    • If you manage to decypher it, The Invisibles alone will at least make you knowledgable about Aztec and Australian mythology, Haitian Voodoo, quantum physics, the history of revolutions, classic literature, fringe science and conspiracy theories, English pop culture, the works of Terrence McKenna and Philip K. Dick and Buddhism.
    • Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth is equally confusing but equally rewarding. Those who carefuly dissect it will find a highly detailed study on Jungian psyche (Emphasis on the Shadow), the holographic principle, Egyptian mythology, Tarot, paleochristianism or the Kabbalah.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Lion King
    • The franchise as a whole likely introduced a generation of children to many species of African wildlife such as hornbills, meerkats, warthogs, wildebeest and hyenas. This is particularly true with the Circle of Life segment.
    • On a meta level, the original introduced to children the plot structure of Hamlet.
  • In a similar fashion, Finding Nemo introduced 2000s children to many species of Indo-Pacific aquatic wildlife (e.g., clownfish, royal blue tang, Moorish idol, etc.).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Arrival is quite possibly the most detailed primer on language ever put to film. It's also wildly entertaining.
  • The Craft debunks a lot of misconceptions about witchcraft — the girls don't worship the devil, they worship nature, spells are more like prayer, they believe in the threefold lawnote , and each coven has its own rules which are forbidden to outsiders. Of course, there's still a lot of Urban Fantasy in there, because it's more exciting.
  • GoldenEye: For many people, this movie may have been the first time they heard about the post-World War II repatriation of the Cossacks to the Soviet Union and the atrocities that followed.
  • The Matrix has been played in philosophy classes for showcasing concepts such as the Platonic Cave or to graphically explain the concept of perception shift after reaching nirvana.
  • My Cousin Vinny, despite being a comedy, is noted for being one of the most accurate legal movies ever made. Attempting to pull off Courtroom Antics just ends up getting the main character in hot water more than once, and it accurately shows not only opening statements but how to effectively cross-examine a witness. It's notable that many actual law schools will show it to the class for them to dissect and learn from.
  • Star Wars
    • The original trilogy has been used by countless Philosophy and Religious Studies professors as a teaching tool, since the concepts integral to the Jedi way of life can be so easily likened to a plethora of Eastern religions and philosophies, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and bushido. If you're a Western moviegoer from a predominately Christian community, there's a good chance that the movies gave you your first glimpse at a form of spirituality other than the one that you were raised with, and probably served as your introduction to certain spiritual ideas — like the concept of an all-pervading divine force that encompasses the Universe itself — that are very much sacred Canon in many world religions.
    • Since the prequel trilogy is (at least in part) a Government Procedural about a free republic's gradual transformation into a dictatorial empire, it served as many youngsters' first introduction to concepts like representative government, bureaucracy, and votes of no confidence—and it inspired many young viewers to learn about the fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of Nazi Germany, two of George Lucas' primary historical inspirations. The films also make a pretty decent teaching tool for introducing kids to classical Greek tragedy, with Anakin's story arc (particularly in the third film) being pretty heavily influenced by the works of Sophocles and Euripides.
  • Trading Places is so informative about economics and trading that, following the 2008 recession, Section 136 of the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act (also known as the Dodd-Frank Act) — which was an Obvious Rule Patch to prevent some of the shenanigans shown at the end of the film — is informally known as the "Eddie Murphy Rule".
  • In a meta-context, the differences between the theatrical cut released in 2017 and the 2021 "Snyder Cut" of the Justice League movie (and the long road it took for the latter's release) served as this for people with regards to the ins and outs of the post-production process for movies, such as the differences between the "first cut", director's cut, assembly cut, and rough cut (all of which are entirely different things), as well as the weird world of Executive Meddling and how decisions in a studio's chain of command can shape, harm, or cancel film projects, and so on. In short, the movie had a notoriously Troubled Production, during which director Zack Snyder left shortly after post-production started due to a personal tragedy and Joss Whedon was brought on to finish the movie with reshot and rewritten scenes that even casual fans were able to identify (half of the footage shown in the trailers was not in the movie). Post-release, the "Snyder Cut" became a magnet for examinations in how small changes can snowball into significant alterations in the way scenes play out and the emotional impact when it comes to the order of events. While there were entire subplots, missing shots and deleted roles reinstated, the scenes that did play relatively similar to the theatrical release gave rise to numerous frame-by-frame comparisons.
  • James Cameron's Titanic is not only a superb romantic disaster drama, it's an absolute master class on Edwardian society and the great ship herself — so much so that it is rivalled only by the legendary A Night to Remember as the most accurate depiction of the disaster, and the special effects of the sinking itself are the closest anyone will ever get to reliving what actually happened that night. Cameron didn't just make incredible sets of Titanic — he literally brought her back to life.

  • Since the original novel mixed and matched fiction with the occasional digressive essay on topical subjects, many 19th Century novels which were contemporary for their time have nonetheless taught casual readers a great deal about America, France, Russia, and England. Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Mark Twain, and Honoré de Balzac especially are considered mandatory reading to really get a sense of what the 19th Century was really like. Balzac especially, with his exhaustive attention to social classes and economics, is often cited in works by professional economists such as Karl Marx and Thomas Piketty.
  • A lot of postmodernist fiction revives the 19th Century style only taken further:
    • Thomas Pynchon will often send you running to read about obscure and difficult topics such as high-level mathematics, rocket physics, corporate history, the aristocratic Thurn-und-Taxis family, and the Herero genocide.
    • Jorge Luis Borges fills his fiction with all kinds of literary and philosophical games and puzzles, though Borges is so Genre Savvy about this trope that he often mixes fake facts and history with real ones just to mess with readers who are trying to learn without actually putting the effort:
    That history should have copied history was already sufficiently astonishing; that history should copy literature was inconceivable.
    • Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics was written in the hope of educating readers and children about 20th Century physics and evolutionary theory by means of the form of the classic folktale.
    • Salman Rushdie's novels are at times lengthy essays that parody and riff of some aspect of history, contemporary life, and hobby horses that he found interesting. Some of his work averts it in being straight historical fiction.
  • George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire is fantasy, but it is heavily based on the Wars of the Roses and medieval history in general. His books feature several characters, places, and incidents that allude, directly and indirectly, to various events across feudal history, and deciphering them has often led fans of his books to gain a sophomore knowledge of medieval Europe.
  • Dodger by Terry Pratchett had a non-fiction spin-off called Dodger's Guide to London. But the novel itself is a pretty good guide to Victorian London.
  • The Discworld novels can teach you such things as unconventional historical means of arsenic poisoning, the symbolism of maypoles and broomsticks, the origins of midwinter festivals, and the meaning of the word "susurrus". You just need to tease it out of the fictional stuff, for which Sir Terry recommended the public library.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed is simultaneously an entertaining introduction to what an anarchist society would actually be like and also Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: The Novel. By the same author, The Left Hand of Darkness will cause you to question everything you think you know about gender.
  • The Zombie Survival Guide guide lays out some pretty good basic survival tips and techniques when dealing with a disaster, even though said disaster will (almost) certainly not involve zombies. A few people have claimed to have used it during real natural disasters. It even includes the often underappreciated advice that not every disaster is an apocalypse and that the law should be respected for as long as it has any meaning — in other words, don't wish for a disaster so that you can show off your survivalist chops.
  • The Survive! novels by Jack Dillon are Edutainment for children that feature protagonists having to deal with different natural disasters like volcanoes, forest fires, and avalanches. The plots themselves have lots of demonstrations of children and teenagers having to fend for themselves after being separated from adults, and the end of the books contain facts and figures on how to handle yourself in such an emergency.
  • The children's book series Horrible Harry is many young readers' first introduction to Korean culture. One of the main characters, Song Lee, is Korean-American, and many aspects of her culture are referenced in the books. They're also accurate and well-researched.
  • Would you like a basic grounding in astrophysics, political maneuvering, and realistic (space) naval tactics and strategy? Then Honor Harrington is the Military Science Fiction series for you!
  • Georgette Heyer did such extensive research on the Regency era and the Napoleonic Wars that her novels are practically a field guide to the era — to the point where a chapter of An Infamous Army has been recommended at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurstnote  for its superb accuracy on the Battle of Waterloo.
  • From reading the Aubrey-Maturin books by Patrick O'Brian, you'd think they were written during the Age of Sail. They weren't — O'Brian just did that much research on the era.
  • Spice and Wolf wasn't intended as edutainment about economics: that's purely Author Appeal. Doesn't change the fact that you'll still learn a lot the subject thanks to Hasekura's detailed depictions and discussions about medieval economy.
  • Rick Riordan really showed his work when writing about ancient mythology. A lot of rarely mentioned myths show up in his books, and if he ever deviates from the original mythology, he usually makes note of it.
  • The Jungle Book, in a similar fashion to The Lion King, informed Western audiences of many species of Indian wildlife such as sloth bears and Indian pythons.
  • The Journey Through Time series of Geronimo Stilton contains very detailed trivia and information about the time periods visited by the characters, including several pages of maps, cultural information, and even clothing.
  • Serge Storms: Aside from the graphic bloodshed and sex, the series can act as a travelogue of sorts for people who want to learn more about Florida due to Serge and Coleman going on road trips across lesser-known parts of the state and observing the sights, landmarks, and people while Serge endlessly chats about Florida's history.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Band of Brothers is a pretty good history lesson for high school students who want to learn about World War II. There's some Artistic Licence – History, but for the most part it's a good representation of what happened, and it's often shown in high school history classes.
  • In Our Miss Brooks this is unavoidable, given that the program is set in a High School and stars an English teacher. For example, in "The English Test", Miss Brooks tutors Harriet Conlin, Walter Denton and "Jerky" McGuirk for an upcoming examination. Connie Brooks covers such topics as "Concord and Governance", "Gerundial Phrases" and "Sentence Structure". Humour is provided by Walter and McGuirk trying to crib off Harriet. Similarly, the episode "Yodar Kritch Award" features Connie attempting to tutor Bones Snodgrass. Here, she covers the subjunctive mood, using the phrase "If I were John the Fisherman." This is a Sound-to-Screen Adaptation of the radio episode, only substituting Bones for his brother Stretch. Our Miss Brooks similarly covers scientific topics, due to the fact biology teacher Mr. Boynton is Miss Brooks' Love Interest. The episode "Life Can Be Bones" relies heavily on a discussion of paleontology. A good deal of time is also spent relating the idea of a "Missing Link".
  • NCIS has been called educational about the American justice system by showing an otherwise obscure government entity that is part of the morass that is the American Political System and how it interacts with that system. It still has to deal with police investigations, due process, search warrants, Miranda Rights, and the like. It was a particularly good primer for people in totalitarian regimes to see what the government should really look like. On a totally different tangent, it also teaches viewers about classic films because of Di Nozzo's constant references to them.
  • The riffing in Mystery Science Theater 3000 is packed with popular culture references, stagecraft notes, and trope deconstructions that can result in hours of research. The broader your frame of reference, the more rewarding the humor becomes, and the more you research their jokes, the broader your frame of reference will become.
  • MythBusters is in the business of busting myths, so it is educational, but notably, several people have credited the "what to do when your car is submerged" episode with saving their lives.
  • While MacGyver (1985) often beefed up the plot with different Artistic License and Rule of Cool (and censoring details on the more destructive ones), the general idea and basic science behind various gizmos and improvisations made by Mac always checked out. The real-life results might not be as impressive (as checked by listed above MythBusters), but they still end up happening. And even ignoring the solutions themselves, the series sure as hell promoted outside-of-box thinking and ad-hoc solutions to problems.
  • The Wire demonstrated, in one episode, that gambling can be used to teach probability math. In fact, if The Drunkard's Walk is to be believed, gambling is probably the only reason probability math was invented. It also offers some excellent advice on how to avoid electronic surveillance and self-incrimination when you get arrested, and police departments have complained about this before.
  • Instead of watching 24-hour news networks, you can tune in to The Daily Show and The Colbert Report which satirize these programs, and still get a good chunk of pertinent information on whatever it is they report. The Daily Show is particularly notable for being a "better" news source than many mainstream American news channels like Fox News and MSNBC, with a survey showing that viewers who got their news primarily from the Daily Show were the best informed about political issues in the country. (Fox News viewers were the least informed.) Jon Stewart has even won journalistic awards for his work on the show, but was notably uncomfortable about this, acknowledging his success but stating that it's the "real" news media's job to be more informative than he is.
  • You can learn a great deal about historical artifacts from Pawn Stars (see, The History Channel isn't suffering complete Network Decay!), and it can even show you how to avoid damaging valuable antiques.
  • Legion (2017), based on the Marvel comics, while surreal and very Mind Screwy at times, has a great deal of episodes that are basically lectures and studies in psychology and psychoanalysis, from the basics like depression to the most complicated, like actual personality disorders and mental health.
  • NUMB3RS discusses math in every episode.
  • All things considered, it is probably not wise to let a hypochondriac watch House. It has described a plethora of exotic diseases, even as it warns that it's utterly stupid to diagnose yourself with them.
  • The West Wing has this in spades for the political system and U.S. history. Not only have people have learned all sorts of obscure things about how the Presidency and government works by watching the show, but it has itself turned more than a few of its fans into real-life government nerds.
  • If you watch The BBC series Spooksnote , especially early episodes by playwright Howard Brenton, be prepared to learn quite a lot about the intricacies of British and international politics, the roots of terrorism, and real spy tradecraft. In contrast to American shows like 24, Spooks routinely tosses out literary moments, like guest star Anthony Head quoting Coriolanus to justify betrayal, or Officer Carter citing Lawrence of Arabia going undercover as a Circassian as justification for one of his operations.
  • The Big Bang Theory is a show about scientists, so naturally they will teach people physics, biology, and mathematics. In fact, the show goes out of its way to not only be scientifically accurate, but also display accurate equations and science on whiteboards.
  • The Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode "Sabrina The Teenage Writer" has a lot of useful advice for people who want to write fiction: Basing characters off real people is not a substitute for Character Development, don't force the ending, unexpected twists that make no sense aren't good writing, make sure the characters know why they're doing what they're doing, and making something more realistic for the sake of it doesn't automatically make things better.
  • The Good Place discusses multiple philosophical questions and introduces the viewer to many concepts in philosophy. In particular, T.M. Scanlon's What We Owe to Each Other experienced a large spike in searches and purchases, as the philosophy of contractualism is a running theme in the show.
  • Drunk History: For all of the antics of the drunk narrators, over-the-top reenactments, and anachronisms, the historical events are retold accurately and respectfully enough for its audience to say that they learned more from this show than they do at school, especially when some light gets shined on more obscure people and events.
  • HBO's Watchmen TV series has been praised for teaching many viewers about the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, a historically important incident of racial violence that's seldom depicted in American popular culture. Google searches for "Tulsa Race Riot" apparently spiked the night that the first episode aired.
  • In a similar vein as Watchmen, The Gilded Age—otherwise a fluffy period drama about the machinations of New York high-society ladies in the 1880s—includes a surprisingly detailed look at the well-off Black bourgeoisie that developed after Emancipation.
  • Code Black is one of the most stunningly accurate medical dramas to ever hit the airwaves, with both extremely solid medical science and an incredibly realistic portrayal of the emotional stresses, character development, and staff relationships that go on in a major hospital's emergency room. Just to hammer this home, one of the doctors who was featured in the documentary of the same name that inspired the show has said that the main cast has received enough medical training to qualify as EMTs, though they obviously never sat the exams.
  • It'll be interesting to see how many Europeans learnt where countries were and their flags from watching the Eurovision Song Contest, and especially those since 1998, where each country was shown on a map before they voted.
    • Similarly, people can learn about foreign countries from international competitions such as Miss World or the Olympics.
  • Ms. Marvel features a Pakistani-American Muslim and her family and community, and focuses on The Partition of India as part of her family history. As one character states, "Every Pakistani family has a Partition story, and none of them are good"; but many Western / non-South Asian diaspora viewers admitted that this was the first time they had even heard of the Partition.
  • Being a documentary, Mayday obviously falls under the category of "educational", but what makes it unconventional is that although it focuses on plane crashes, it also teaches a lot about airlines and models of aircraft throughout the years and how the various things in an aircraft cockpit work. In fact, it has been used in an educational setting to teach prospective pilots, not investigators.
  • Moon Knight (2022) focuses on the protagonist Steven Grant learning he's an alter for Marc Spector and what it means to live with DID. It also led to the likes of Steven and Jake Lockley to be called "alters" (the correct term for someone with multiple personalities) on this very site.

  • Sabaton is a Power Metal band that sings almost entirely about historical battles. The fandom joke is that listening to their music would give them the basic essentials of historical battles and events (in particular, a good chunk of 17th century history with the Carolus Rex Concept Album). The band itself has fully embraced this, even starting a YouTube channel, Sabaton History, hosted by Indy "TimeGhost" Neidell (The Great War and World War II) in 2019.
    "I've got an exam about the World Wars tomorrow, so I'm headbanging to Sabaton!"
  • Iced Earth's epic Gettysburg Trilogy has quite a bit of information about the three days of battle, with each song focusing on one day.
  • Monty Python's song "Oliver Cromwell" gives an accurate summary of Oliver Cromwell's life to the tune of "Polonaise in A-flat major" by Frédéric Chopin.
    • Similarly, "The Galaxy Song" is a succinct summation of the size, orbital durations, and dimensions of the known universe.
  • Iron Maiden would like to present an introductory lecture on the life and times of Alexander The Great. And for those who don't have time to read Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the band's got you covered with some awesome Cliff's Notes.
  • Therion has a lot of concept albums about ancient mythology, as well as one about the history of astronomy focused around the time of Copernicus/Galilei.
  • Even before making explicitly educational songs in their children's albums, They Might Be Giants had several surprisingly informational songs within their adult discography.
    • "Mammal" explains the biological details that separate them from other animals and references several families within the group: Placental, live-birth mammals, Marsupial, mammals with underdeveloped young carried by the mother, Monotreme, egg-laying mammals, and "dead" Allotheria, an extinct class of mammals.
    • "James K. Polk" is a mostly correct biography of 11th President James K. Polk and the canidates he went up against in the 1844 election. They do simplify some details, but the information is more than most people would know about the 1844 American elections otherwise.
    • "Meet James Ensor" is vague on the actual details of his life, but it does teach you that he was a famous Belgain painter, and the vagueness can easily motivate some listeners to look up the man and his works to understand the references the song is making.
    • While technically on an educational children's album, the song "One Everything" teaches the complex intersection of number theory and cosmology where questions about how one counts "everything" are asked. It's a topic more applicable for a college class! It also teaches listeners the word "omniverse," a more obscure varient of the word "multiverse."
  • Nightwish has a few songs about evolutionary biology, starting with Return to the Sea on their first album to Procession on their eighth.
  • Boney M.'s song "Rasputin" tells the story of the titular preacher and faith healer, including his relationship to the family of the Tsar, and his assassination.
  • The German band The Ocean's album Phanerozoic list the periods of the geological time scale in order. However, being instrumentals, the songs themselves don't teach anything.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Pancreas" goes into the purpose and function of the pancreas in excruciatingly accurate detail.
  • The Brothers Four's song "55 Days at Peking" introduces listeners to the Boxer Rebellion, a relatively obscure historial event, through a positively catchy tune.
  • Fort Minor's song "Remember the Name" no doubt caused many 2000s children and teenagers to remember their percentages.

  • The attention to historical detail, plus the bonus episodes exploring the history behind the fiction, mean that is is possible to learn quite a bit about the history of the Johnson Administration and the politics of late 1860s America from 1865. Likewise, the bonus episodes also provide quite a bit of information about what goes into the making of an audio drama podcast.
  • The goal of Residents of Proserpina Park is to teach listeners about creatures from across mythology and folklore in an entertaining way. The emphasis on lesser known creatures means it is possible to learn quite a bit about the more obscure corners of mythology and folklore.

  • To save money, the original The Lone Ranger radio series used music in the public domain for its soundtrack. This meant that a generation of young children were introduced to classical music (especially the William Tell Overture) from listening to the adventures of their favorite hero.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Tabletop RPG games like Dungeons & Dragons can easily be considered one long arithmetic problem personified as a fantasy adventure. Games with a Point Build System or Min-Maxing particularly focus on algebra, and games that focus on non-narrative combat resolution like with dice or cards teach probability theory. Playing any game long enough also forces you to have an understanding of game theory. The genre has also been a boon for parents hoping that their kids would be more sociable and use their imagination.
  • Board Games and Card Games also teach probability and, in some cases (e.g. Monopoly and its progeny) arithmetic.
  • Even Plugged In admitted that the Yu-Gi-Oh! Collectible Card Game had the educational benefit of helping kids practice math. There have been many cases in which parents reported that the Pokémon TCG taught their children similar basic math skills.
  • Some of the real world settings in the GURPS line are described in sourcebooks with a level of detail and accuracy comparable to that of a high school history textbook. Moreover, they're also good at explicitly separating myth and history.
    • Moreover, source books like High/Low-Tech are great looks into the technology of a given era, and Space is practically an astrophysics primer.
  • Some historically based strategy board games can really help in history class, including Here I Stand (wars of the Reformation), Twilight Struggle (the Cold War), and World in Flames (World War II).
  • While the routes in Star of Africa were made up by the designer, the African cities featured in it are real and have served to teach children a bit of African geography.
  • Player's handbook for Delta Green kindly provides a chapter on the structure of law enforcement agencies in the United States of America, as that's where the game is assumed to be set and what player characters assumed to be employed in, and the game relies heavily on the specific culture of US governmental agencies. As a result, if they aren't otherwise interested in the topic, non-American players may well end up with a better working understanding of the American law enforcement than that of their own countries.

  • Hamilton is essentially a biography of Alexander Hamilton in the form of a hip-hop musical and soundtrack. Its plot also covers numerous lesser-known events from the early history of the United States, like the Compromise of 1790 and the passage of the 12th Amendment.
  • There's a running joke in the Broadway community of learning from historical musicals:
    "Studying for a US History exam? Just listen to the soundtracks for Ragtime, Assassins, Hamilton, 1776, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson."

    Video Games 
  • Animal Crossing. Blathers, if you listen to him, can become a wellspring of knowledge concerning certain fish, insects, fossils, and in future games, even art that you bring to him. All this in a game meant for children?
  • The Assassin's Creed series fit this nicely. The buildings you climb in particular are quite accurate to reality, and the menus usually include factual information about them. Basically everyone but the main protagonists are real people, although they're often highly fictionalised. This is handwaved within the series by saying the Templars wrote the history books (and encouraged people to learn about them too). Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag made many fans become revisionists of pirate history overnight, and its use of sea shanties as accompaniment also exposed many of tunes to non-folklore specialists.
    • The series realized its full potential as a teaching tool somewhere around 2017, and fully embraced it; instead of just offering the text-based databanks of the previous games, Originsnote , Odysseynote , and Valhallanote  feature an entire new gamemode - "Discovery Tour" - that disables all combat and instead offers virtual tours about the settings' culture, architecture, mythology, noteworthy people and other relevant stuff. "Discovery tours" are outright marketed for the history buffs, and have even been used in academic settings by teachers.
  • Cities: Skylines will teach you a lot about infrastructure planning, from healthcare and education provision, through urban development, to planning for the disposal of sewage and corpses.
  • Both Age of Empires and Civilization are seen as a more interesting way of learning about history and technological developments. Civilization in particular is notable for its Civilopedia, from which you can learn a great deal.
  • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, the Spiritual Successor to Civilization, gives you just enough info about fields ranging from ecology to economics to sociology to philosophy to Chinese poetry to make you want to look stuff up when you are inevitably forced to quit, as well as including some pretty cool projections about plausible near-to-middle future (next 100-500 years) technology. At the very least, it will completely disabuse you of the notion that genes are blueprints.
  • Many people were first exposed to Ayn Rand, Objectivism, and Atlas Shrugged by playing Bioshock and taking a trip to Andrew Ryan's underwater playhouse.
  • Forgetting the alternate universes, steampunk cyborgs, and floating cities, BioShock Infinite is an astonishingly accurate depiction of American exceptionalism, political extremism, and xenophobia of the late 1890s.
  • Impressions' City-Building Series from Caesar 3 onward included an extensive in-game encyclopedia, particularly expanded for Pharaoh and Emperor. On top of that, the campaigns in those games followed historical events and construction of famous landmarks as much as they could, with narration to each mission discussing real-life events and people. Plus, of course, the city-management aspect of it all. While never intended as edutainment, both Pharaoh and Emperor ended up on list of teaching aids approved by Ministries of Education across Europe.
  • Grand strategy simulation games like Europa Universalis and Hearts of Iron are a good learning tools for historical geography, as they involve a whole lot of long-gone countries and specific regions of them, which you would normally require a specialised atlas to check. And in addition to that, they have a tendency to subtly guide the player towards an understanding of concepts such as geopolitics, the neo-realist theory of international relations, or colonialism and imperialism.
  • The classic 4X game Imperialism is about running a generic 19th century empire, but because so much of the gameplay revolves around developing your economy by procuring raw materials and intermediate goodsnote , it's also a surprisingly accurate picture of the sorts of supply chain and sourcing challenges faced by manufacturing businesses.
  • Dark Souls teaches you different types of medieval weapons and armors (standard weapons, not boss weapons) as well as bringing attractions to historical European martial arts (HEMA). That said, the overswings may get you killed in a real fight.
  • You can learn a lot about China's Three Kingdoms Period from Dynasty Warriors, and a lot about the Sengoku Era of Japan from Samurai Warriors... just as long as you remember to take it all with a grain of salt. If nothing else, you might get interested enough to look some of the characters up, just to see how much they were changed — and better yet, how much of the awesome, far-out stuff was actually real.
  • Dwarf Fortress teaches how to make steel, the properties and types of different rocks, the use of potash in farming techniques, the true meaning of the serenity prayer, and how to plan around everybody you command being a complete moron.
  • Final Fantasy XIV teaches a variety of learning and thinking methods (Visual, Verbal, Mechanical, etc). While these are often used in other games to teach players who would rather learn by doing than by reading, mechanics in XIV are made bright and obvious to account for groups of eight strangers with their own strengths or difficulties learning them. Players are often surprised to hear mechanics they completed easily are That One Attack to others due to relying on mental math (Construct 7), memorizing words or mnemonic devices (Omega), rotating and flipping shapes (Zodiark) and the list goes on.
  • KanColle might be a bit more well known of "cute girl with World War II ship parts," there has been plenty of comments on how fans learned more about the naval actions of the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean theatres, weaponry development of both land and sea, the various military officers and politicians, and history leading from World War I. "Come for the cute girls, stay for the naval war history" is something of a joke among fans.
  • Medal of Honor and other First Person Shooters set in World War II can teach younger players about the time period, along with a few bits of questionable accuracy and a heavy dose of America Won World War II. World War II strategy games are also likely to get players interested in the facets of tactics and strategy within the war's history, especially if it's the kind of game to avert Easy Logistics.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon teaches you math. If your normal-type mon just used a base power 30 water-type attack on a foe Venusaur chopping 1/6 of its health, and you have another mon that outspeeds Venusaur but can be two-hit-KOed by it, and that mon is a fire-type with about the same special attack stat as your first mon and has a base power 30 fire-type attack, should you switch it in? (Answer: yes, because barring a miracle, you'll get to one-hit KO it.) But wait, what if your opponent knows all of that and will switch Venusaur out? Pokémon teaches you game theory.
    • Due to the franchise's unique status as a text-based Eastern RPG aimed at children and the highest-grossing media franchise of all time, some studies have shown that playing the games improves literacy in young children.
    • The 3rd-generation games teach visual braille while the player tries to unlock a set of Legendary Pokémon. However this doubles as a Guide Dang It! as players were unable to actually translate said braille without the use of either the box inserts or the Internet.
    • Pokémon X and Y have a simulated photography minigame at certain landmarks, which teaches the player some of the basics about camera aperture width, focus length, and shutter speed. After all, if you're going to take a photo with the Ultimate Weapon mere moments before it's fired, you want to make sure it's a good one, right?
  • Sid Meier's Pirates! certainly taught a lot of people the geography of the Caribbean, especially considering it was using a properly scaled map in-game, so it was player's best interest to pick up real-world map with major ports for at least basic orientation.
  • According to Time magazine, Steven Johnson argues that SimCity taught his nephew about taxation issues, and that even a segment of one The Legend of Zelda game had enough detail to "bury the canard" that it is passive entertainment.
  • Extra Credits had an episode on "tangential learning" on the topic of how video games, rather than being the brain-rotting evil incarnate the Moral Guardians claimed, were in fact an easy way to learn various facts about many things depending on the plot in question. It didn't even need to be exact or in-depth to work, as, for example, God of War, despite its inconsistencies with actual Greek Mythology, could encourage someone to go and read about it, or Mass Effect could encourage someone to go and read a book about Dark Matter or the Galactic Core.
  • As for the four Tasty Planet games, they feature not only a wide variety of biological subjects such as flora and fauna, they also feature various units of length (including astronomical units and parsecs), things that would be surprising for 8-year-olds (and up)note  to learn.
  • Toontown Online introduced kids to plenty of unfamiliar business terminology, such as stock options or a District Attorney's office, and put them in a context that makes it easy to understand what they are. Many of the Cog names are also slang terms for people with certain habits in the industries (Mr. Hollywood, Name Dropper, Mover and Shaker). The Lawbot boss, the Chief Justice, also teaches you about how a jury works in a court case and that you need evidence to support your defense.
  • The Total War series can teach a gamer quite a lot about the different periods of history, despite various inaccuracies. Some mods like Europa Barbarorum (for Rome: Total War) have been created with the help of university professors and the like, thus going so far as to teach the audience about economics, politics, and even languages of the ancient world.
  • Shin Megami Tensei's Crossover Cosmology taught many gamers about various (often obscure) aspects of religion (from Christianity to Hinduism) and mythology. The Persona spin-off series (especially from Persona 3 onwards) also covers a wide range of topics from geography to advanced English to the major arcana to, of course, Jungian psychology.
  • Similarly, Smite introduced some gamers to some more obscure gods and other figures from different mythologies, because while the game has some (relatively) commonly known figures like Zeus, Thor, and Ra, it also has figures that are less well-known in some parts of the world, like Olorun, a Bake-Kujira, and Ah Muzen Cab.
  • Belief in this trope is where the foolish idea of "Murder Simulators" got started — the Moral Guardians believed that people were learning how to become killing machines from video games where you shoot people. But the firearms community hotly contests that people can learn anything about firearms from video games — while they welcome the newfound interest, they acknowledge that video games are generally not good resources for learning about gun safety.
  • Ace Attorney is a weird case — while the law is frigging complicated, and it depicts a legal system that is very different from the American adversarial system commonly seen on TV, it is apparently a good crash course on the Japanese legal system and is a good enough primer on evidence law that law schools there (and in countries with similar systems) have been known to teach it.
  • Knights of the Old Republic is based on one of the Dungeons and Dragons systems (specifically D20). Unlike in the tabletop game, all the maths is done by the computer, but the game makes up for this by featuring a lot of classic maths and logic puzzles, with name changes to fit the local aesthetic. The creators of the Star Forge apparently decided to defend the maps to their superweapon with seventh-grade-level math.
  • Minecraft is basically a treatise on the location and allocation of natural resources disguised as a video game. Learning how to use redstone is a good way to learn boolean algebra. If you have enough time and patience, you can create a calculator or even a computer (if a basic one) out of blocks and redstone.
  • Mass Effect is, at first glance, a Space Opera epic about a wo/man named Commander Shepard and his/her fight against extragalactic genocidal robots called Reapers. It also manages to explore scientific concepts like the Fermi paradox and evolution, socio-political concepts like globalism and racism, and literary concepts like Lovecraftian horror and the Byronic Hero, when you're not blowing up Eldritch Abominations or banging aliens.
  • If you're interested in how to lead a populist religious movement and in general create a world changing social movement, just pick up a copy of Dragon Age: Inquisition. It also teaches you how to navigate the political and diplomatic landmines that a leader faces.
  • The entire output of the company Paradox Interactive: Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, Victoria: An Empire Under The Sun, and Hearts of Iron. It's otherwise known as Everything You Wanted to Know About the Medieval Era/the Renaissance/the Victorian Era/World War II but Were Afraid to Ask: 101 Course. If anything, Europa Universalis and Victoria are fantastic way of learning names and locations of various historical regions throughout the world.
  • Automation is intended to be an automobile company tycoon game, but the game has such detailed modeling of car design that the in-game tutorials are basically just really good educational videos.
  • World of Warcraft
    • A number of players (as well as Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games in general) credit it as a great way to passively learn how to type faster, as you'd need speedy typing skills to participate frequently in a very active guild chat.
    • A boy used the skills he learned from the game (namely, drawing aggro and playing dead) to save his sister from an angry moose.
    • And it also turns out that being in a raiding party can teach one teamwork and leadership skills that are applicable to the real world. A well-balanced and cooperative raiding party with a leader who can plan and strategize on the fly and earn respect while doing so is a raiding party that wins battles and loot, after all. It's gotten to the point that more than a few young adults with those skills entering the workforce have asked job-hunting and professional development forums for advice on how to state those things on their resumes and in job interviews without explicitly mentioning Warcraft.
  • Some Mirror's Edge players have taken to passively theorize freerunning routes.
  • World of Warships covers several decades of naval shipbuilding and references the very complicated naval politics of the era. And much like the KanColle entry above, history of Naval Warfare too (even those that occurred during The Great War.) Expect a double dose of the same if you pop on the forums.
  • Casual listeners of music don't really think about time signatures until they have to do something that involves committing to keeping a rhythm, like playing an instrument — or playing Rhythm Games. Long-time players of DanceDance Revolution and beatmania, for example, may remember "Holic" being their first real touch with time signatures that aren't in 4/4, 3/4, or triple time (the song runs in 7/8, then 7/4, before finally switching to 4/4), making the song a Wake-Up Call Boss for a number of players of both games.
  • The Metal Gear games are a unique example of a video game franchise that can teach you about nuclear weapons, ICBMs, firearms, mechanics, genetics, psychology, philosophy, Cold War politics, and foreign cultures and media.
  • Despite its cartoonish look and its reduced scale of the Solar System, Kerbal Space Program uses relatively accurate physics, giving players a basic overall knowledge of orbital mechanics.
  • While still a game, M.U.L.E. teaches a lot about economics, including supply and demand, what happens if someone controls a monopoly (especially on, say, Food), and shows the effects of certain crises (e.g. pirate ships, planetquakes, "Fire in Store") and the economics of such. It even teaches a bit on the Prisoner's Dilemma — for example, if every player decides to "defect" and backstab one another, or greedily hunt for Crystite, everyone loses.
  • WarioWare Gold: Discussed and exploited. With Fronk's nudging, 9-Volt finds he can answer his math homework questions easily by rewording them as RPG problems (for example: If you have 100 health and you get hit for 56 damage, how much health do you have left?)
  • 80 Days is based on Around the World in Eighty Days and requires the player to figure out how to tour a Steampunk version of the original novel's setting in eighty days. Do you know which city of Tehran, Kabul and Herat is the farthest to the east? If you don't, you'll be potentially wasting precious conversation time with a fellow traveler who will only be willing to tell you about so many travel routes before ending the discussion; the three are on the same train line in the game and which is asked about can affect how far the first trip on that train can take the player.
  • God of War Ragnarök, and specifically its depiction of Thor, whose depicted as having Stout Strength instead of a Heroic Build as is typical in fictional depections, opened up a massive fan backlash, backlash to the backlash, and debate that turned into a rather unconventional fan experience when it comes to historical depictions of characters, differences between powerlifter and body builder physiques, and the actual purpose of fat.
  • Officially they're Wide-Open Sandbox games with a narrative to follow, but Endless Ocean and its sequel Blue World double as marine fauna encyclopedias, if you can forgive the occasional mistake in the creature descriptions.
  • The developers of Saurian did such extensive research for their depiction Hell Creek Formation environment of latest Cretaceous South Dakota that the companion book can be used as a legitimate paleontological resource.
  • In Uncle Albert's Adventures, putting an animal on the scanner reveals real life information about said animal that aren't useful for the games. Given that these games are marketed toward children, it may teach them alot about animal biology.
  • If you know anything about life in Japan during the bubble economy back in the '80s, chances are you've played Yakuza 0.

  • MS Paint Adventures can broaden your vocabulary, teach you about data structures and the Western zodiac, help you think in a more non-linear fashion, and be more attentive to detail. (Way more attentive to detail.)
  • morphE happens to be set in the Mage: The Awakening universe. Reading through will give the audience a large amount of information required to be able to swiftly transition into the game proper. Spells, realms, and species are explained fairly well, and the comment section is always full of people explaining what had happened in the update and what different game mechanics could be applied.
  • Similarly, early story arcs of The Order of the Stick used enough mechanics of 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons to teach new readers the basics of the game, such as trying to explain armor penalties to Elan, and an entire strip dedicated to classes and features that use the 12-sided die. There was even a page where the characters debate whether to update the comic to 4th or 5th edition rules, concluding that they don't want to have to rewrite the tutorial strips or gags using now-outdated mechanics.
  • Scandinavia and the World and Polandball comics can teach foreign cultures and customs, history, and even vexillology (the study of flags). The latter is especially useful in Polandball, since the only way to recognize the characters in a given comic is by memorizing national and historical flags. The Polandball wiki includes a surprisingly thorough list of countries' relations with each other, giving you a one-stop shop to find out who hates whom and why all over the world.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent:
    • The Translation Punctuation uses the similar-looking flags of Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. While a cheat sheet is provided, parts of the comic are much easier to read once one has gotten the hang of the differences between the flags.
    • Some characters who are technically monolingual are able to talk with each other entirely because of the similarities between Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish. The Encyclopedia Exposita of Adventure I even includes a couple vocabulary sheets showing those similarities.
    • A language tree made for the comic pretty much has a life of it own on the Internet because of the effort that was put in it.
    • Both Norse Mythology and The Kalevala inspired the fantasy elements, which can encourage people to seek out both. Finding people who have already done so is fairly easy in places where the comic is discussed.
    • Many of the places that have become surviving settlements in the comic are real, but not widely known of outside of their respective countries.
    • People trying to figure out how people are managing to do various things after the loss of both modern technology and global trade has led to the fandom being a decent source of information on pre-industrial and early industrial life in the Nordics.

    Web Original 

    Web Video 
  • The amount of detail woven into the verses and visuals of any given Epic Rap Battles of History battle can surprise listeners, especially when it comes to actual historical figures. Did you know that Vlad the Impaler was said to eat bread soaked in his enemies' blood, Picasso had a wiener dog named Lump, or that Thanos had a helicopter with his name on it? You do now.
  • While the research in DEATH BATTLE! is subject to the viewer's interpretation, the show offers a few tidbits of mathematics, science, and history. It also no doubt generates interest from viewers in some of the more obscure combatants and where they came from, such as Bucky O'Hare and Gamera. And you get a cool fight scene between two fictional characters too. What's not to love?
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device is a very light-hearted and comedic take on Warhammer 40,000, but it does do a very good job of explaining the incredibly in-depth lore of the franchise.
  • Despite his channel being dedicated to counting kills in horror movies, James A. Janisse of The Kill Count also takes the time to talk about how the director achieved certain effects using and combination of makeup, practical effects, and CGI
  • Lindsay Ellis eventually moved away from The Nostalgia Chick and her "Loose Canon" series into video essays that can teach viewers a lot about film theory, composition, and criticism. Her The Whole Plate series on the Transformers films has a lot to teach about framing, Male Gaze, feminist theory, and queer coding. She's said that this is partly her intent, to save people from the debts of going to film school.
  • Todd in the Shadows' Trainwreckords series looks at albums that absolutely flopped, generally ones that killed or had a hand in killing the creators' careers. However, Todd doesn't just look at the music, he adds in a ton of background information about the musicians, their careers, the music scene at the time and so on. As a result, watching his videos will give you a decent amount of knowledge about the artists, including a lot of stuff that has nothing to do with the album the video's about.
  • Cinematic Excrement, in later episodes of the series, goes into more detail about the movies, their production, and other tidbits.
  • Liana K runs a YouTube channel that's predominantly focused on video game analysis. But she's done videos on a lot of other topics, and as such can be quite useful for learning about issues such as sex positive feminism, objectification theory, Gaslighting and recovering from trauma. Unsurprising about the first two, since Liana was a Women's Studies major at university.
  • Jackson Lennon is an Irish YouTuber, and his content is a mixture of Slice of Life vlogs and Edutainment about LGBT issues (he's a bisexual Transgender man). He documented his transition, provided useful Q&A videos about dysphoria and transitioning, has advice on coming out of the closet, and highlights problems faced by trans people in the health system.
  • Ellen Brock is a YouTuber with lots of helpful advice for aspiring authors in how to edit their work themselves, what to put in an email to agents and publishers and what mistakes to avoid.

    Western Animation 
  • Go on, ask any kid who grew up in the '90s where they learned the state capitals, the names of all the U.S. Presidents, the plots of The Godfather and Les Misérables, and the story of Ferdinand Magellan from. The answer is usually Animaniacs.
  • Things that can be learned from Avatar: The Last Airbender: Eastern philosophy and metaphysics, traditional Chinese characters, the length of a total solar eclipse (around 8 minutes), Western elements and cosmology, and a little bit about chakras (at least the names are accurate).
  • Looney Tunes has for decades been the primary vehicle for children around the world to first come across many classical musical pieces, to the point of Parody Displacement— many of these tunes are now impossible to take seriously because of their association with the Looney Tunes franchise. Franz Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody #2" has arguably suffered from its association with "Rhapsody in Rivets", "Rhapsody Rabbit", and "Daffy's Rhapsody" (the special tune recorded by Mel Blanc). Rossini's The Barber of Seville suffers from its association with "Rabbit of Seville", and Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" (when not associated with Apocalypse Now) is associated with "What's Opera, Doc?".
  • The episode "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000" of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic teaches quite a lot about economics: public relations, supply and demand, quality control, artificial scarcity, and the effect of competition on markets are just a few of the things you'll learn here that you'll only revisit in high school.
  • Several animated shows have taught children how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver, which is not only useful but potentially life-saving. Kids have saved lives from seeing the technique on SpongeBob SquarePants, Pair of Kings, and Hey Arnold!note . In one particularly interesting instance, The Simpsons episode "Homer at the Bat" saved at least two lives with its depiction of the Heimlich maneuver.
  • Gargoyles has a lot of references to the works of William Shakespeare, and the creator has said it has gotten quite a few kids interested in the Bard's work. Interestingly, its depiction of the historical Scottish king Macbeth is almost nothing like his depiction in Shakespeare's play on him— which is just as well, as Shakespeare's play was notoriously historically inaccurate (and kind of had to be for political reasons), while the show taught many viewers about the real history that inspired the play.
  • The Hey Arnold! episode "School Play", where Mr. Simmons' class puts on a production of Romeo and Juliet, puts a surprising amount of work into accurately depicting the plot and characters of the play, and likely served as an introduction to Shakespeare for many kids of the '90s. Notably, Mr. Simmons actually takes the time to teach the kids (and the audience) about some of the lesser-known aspects of the play, dispelling the popular notion that it's nothing but Romeo and Juliet exchanging sappy romantic banter with each other.
  • Considering how much the movie was criticized for mangling Greek mythology, Hercules: The Animated Series was more sufficiently grounded in research on ancient myths and Greek history to make viewers, especially international ones who have no grounding in Western culture, learn a great deal about Ancient Greece, learning the names and stories of Prometheus, Orpheus, and Medusa, and unpacking references to the Trojan War and Greek City States.
  • Phineas and Ferb may as well have defied a generation from asking "What the Heck Is an Aglet?" All thanks to one infectiously catchy song.
  • Futurama sometimes uses real-world scientific debates as the basis of its science fiction premises, which can introduce them to fans less familiar with the sciences.
    • The episode "A Clockwork Origin", which satirizes the debate between creationism and evolution, includes quite a bit of information on Darwin's theory of evolution, with one scene taking the time to dispel the "missing link" argument in surprising detail.
    Dr. Banjo: If your elitist East Coast evolution is real, why has no one found the missing link between modern humans and ancient apes?
    Professor Farnsworth: We did find it! It's called Homo erectus!
    Dr. Banjo: Then you have proven my case, sir, for no one has found the link between apes and this Homo erectus!
    Professor Farnsworth: Yes, they have! It's called Homo habilis!
    Dr. Banjo: Aha! But no one has found the missing link between ape and this so-called Homo habilis!
    Professor Farnsworth: Yes, they have! It's called Australopithecus africanus!
    (about fifteen minutes later, we see the Professor's list expanded to include ten more specimens)
    Dr. Banjo: Fair enough. But where, then, is the missing link between apes and this Darwinius masillae? Answer me that, Professor!
    • "The Prisoner of Benda" provides an actual mathematical theorem to resolve its body-switching plot. Episode writer and mathematician Ken Keeler included this theorem, dubbed "The Futurama Theorem," to help get young television viewers more interested in math.
    • "All the Way Down" provides an entry-level explanation of the simulation hypothesis, with the crew drawing comparisons to the necessary restrictions on Farnsworth's simulation and the restrictive laws of physics.

  • Watching or reading works in foreign languages can teach that language. It's not perhaps as good as spending a couple of weeks having to speak and read that language exclusively, but it's good practice beforehand. Watching movies and video games with subtitles are a particularly good way to pick it up, or picking up a work you already know almost by heart and hearing it in a different language. In Latin America, there's a meme about how "I learned English more from the PlayStation than from school."
  • Neopets is a good way to teach economics to young kids, to the point where it has been studied in university courses as an example of a "perfect economy". Trading and bartering with Neopoints relates to the principles of exchange. The NPC-run shops and their fluid stocks teach supply and demand, and the user-run shops can teach arbitrage. Employment is 100% because anyone can play the games, and there's even a symbolic Stock Market.
  • This Very Wiki is considered a place to learn some useful things. But it has a few side effects.
    • One example would be the Discredited Trope and Dead Horse Trope pages, which can be useful for writers in not only understanding why certain tropes are no longer played straight, but also how such tropes came into being in the first place.
  • Many Western Europeans have credited English-language memes and funny pictures with improving their skills in the language.
  • Some people credit their interest in mythology and historical figures entirely on the Nasuverse, specifically the Fate franchise. While there are inconsistencies with how each figure is portrayed, many people learn about international folklore and the heroic figures that come from them through the characters that show up as Heroic Spirits or Counter Guardians.
  • Sports-related examples:
    • Watching professional sports, specifically baseball, basketball, football, and hockey, while growing up has the benefits of exposing children (and immigrants) to not only the sports themselves, but also both major and lesser-known cities in the United States (and, to a lesser extent, Canada, especially while watching NHL games).
    • Some of the team names can also introduce children to certain aspects of the city or state's history or culture (e.g., the San Francisco 49ers being an allusion to the Gold Rush of 1849, the Charlotte Hornets being a reference to Charlotte, North Carolina's nickname of "The Hornet's Nest" during the American Revolution, etc.).
    • The above also applies to the Olympic Games, as you can learn about both lesser-known sports and lesser-known countries and their flags, especially during the Opening Ceremony. The events can also highlight certain neighborhoods and historical facts about of their host cities.