Comics in the Classroom

by | Posted March 7th, 2013

Recently, we discussed the idea of using new technology to its full potential in the classroom. The way we learn, or even the way we teach, has been evolving, especially in these last couple of years. Now, we learned of a new study at the University of Oklahoma (OU) about how well students learn when reading from comics-format material for non-fiction and textbooks.

In the study, 140 graduate students were separated into two groups: the first received their information via traditional textbook, and the second through a graphic novel that covered the same material. Research showed that both groups understood the concepts of the text equally, but the comics group had much better verbatim recall. The creator of this study who is the strategic management chair of OU’s Price College of Business, Jeremy Short, said, “My experiences suggests that graphic story telling can serve as a powerful tool in higher education compared to the traditional textbook.”

This seems like an especially relevant topic for higher education. For years, students have been taught by pictures in books, overhead images, computer screen projectors, and chalkboards. Now, we are developing technology that allows ebooks to have videos and interactive images. Teaching by graphic novel seems like the next natural step along this line of visual learning.