Back when I was a kid I loved watching ‘Sesame Street’, ‘Loony Tunes’, ‘Pingu’, ‘Tom and Jerry’ ‘Popeye’, and many other cartoon shows that were broadcasted on television.
These shows used humorous plots and simple animations to instill various skills for kids. Their theme jingles guaranteed to “turn it on and give you the power” and they did! They were highly creative, trendy, and unbiased. Overall, these shows ensured good content.
Recently, while surfing channels on television, I happened to stumble upon a ‘Sesame Street’ episode.
Feeling nostalgic, I watched the entire episode, and to my surprise the show did a good job holding my attention till the very end. In fact, I wanted to see more episodes in line.
Sesame Street was founded in 1969 by Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett.
“It was built on a dream of using television to educate children. It was designed especially for the preschoolers. Sesame Street is recognized as a pioneer of the contemporary learning standards which combines education and entertainment in children’s television shows.”
The show is still going very strong for over four decades now!
So, what is it about this show that appeals to everyone? Why is it so interesting, engaging, and successful even today? What is it about the cartoons that has benefitted our learning journey so far?
You will find answers to all these questions in the example given below.
We recently developed a course on the topic – Social Media Awareness for Managers of a company.
During the audience analysis phase, we learnt that the managers are finding their current trainings a bit monotonous. They wanted a training that would snap them out from the boredom, and engage them while they learn more about social media. In addition to this, the managers were under constant stress and they were reluctant to take trainings that would make it more taxing for them. Furthermore, the course was expected to be highly engaging and encouraging for the managers to prompt them to actually start using social media.
The training that we eventually created was indeed up to the mark and the client was very happy.
Since a manager’s work profile was quite stressful, we wanted to create a course that would help them lower their stress levels while they learn and enjoy.
Overall, we used a story-based approach in conjunction with the use of cartoon-based approach for this course.
Here are a few reasons why cartoon-based approach would steal the show here as compared to other approaches.
Overall, the course had a strong narrative, it was interactive, it had relevant and engaging cartoons and visuals with interesting conversations. There were a lot of opportunities for the learners to spring to action rather than just sit back and listen. We used various voice modulations for the characters and made it more animated. It was a pedagogically sound course.
In the later stages after the beta delivery, the client demanded the use of real-time photographs for the course instead of cartoons (although we had shared the prototype earlier).
However, we convinced them about the heightened impact that the cartoons would have over the real-time photographs.
We also offered them examples to substantiate this. We recreated a screen using real-time photographs.
Click each screen to witness the difference.
Using real-time photographs
Cartoon-based approach Vs. Real-time photographs: What worked best for this course?
The examples demonstrated the spirit of both real-time photographs as well as cartoon-based approach for the client. Eventually, they were convinced about using a cartoon-based approach for the course and the reasons were as follows:
When the client could compare the difference through the recreated screens, they withdrew from the idea of having real-time photographs. They agreed that cartoons would steal the show here as compared to real-time photographs.
Rationale for Using Cartoons
Some subjects naturally lend themselves to the use of cartoons; social media is one such subject.
Since this course was aimed at managers, using cartoon-based approach helped in reducing boredom and decreasing stress levels.
Many empirical studies have shown that cartoons help lower the stress-related complaints in adults.
Some of the studies also reveal that watching cartoons is good for the brain. When we laugh, our brain releases endorphins, which helps us feel a lot better emotionally as well as physically.
Cartoons instill humor and humor is a significant teaching tool. Humor helps in establishing an environment that is conducive to learning.
Cartoons, because of their dynamic nature, tend to amplify a particular content, thereby helping the learner focus on a subject. They help simplify complicated concepts and make them less exhaustive and entertaining.
Benefits of using cartoons in learning
Cartoons require less cognitive processing for comprehension, and that’s why they help in holding the attention of the learners for longer. They are “easy on the eye and easy on the brain”.
There are a number of benefits of using cartoons in eLearning.
Bring fun to your learning
At Exult we believe in making the learning journey an exuberant experience for the learners.
For innovative learning solutions that can positively impact your organization:
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Cartoons are generally fun for everyone, not only for kids, but miraculously for adults too
“Sesame Street researchers aggressively test their shows via focus groups to see what works. They believe that their success rests on a simple formula that wraps education in entertainment, harnessing the power of human narrative.”
This approach could easily be protracted for the adult learners as well.
According to Doring (2002), “appropriate cartoons in adult education can help learners relax and encourage flexible thinking, although they must be carefully selected and should not be overused.”
Whenever we see cartoons, there is some sort of tantalizing charm that is hard to ignore. Especially, for adults, cartoons act as an edutainment and stress buster.
Cartoons have had a very happy connotation from our childhood memoirs and we carry them even when we grow up.
So, who says cartoons are just for kids?