Since the time of the Ancient Egyptians, illustrations, and subsequently comics, have been used as an educational and communications tools, so comics are not a new medium through which to learn. Furthermore, there is a growing academic literature to support this dating back to the 1940s.
Check out some of our collated research which supports our Why Comics? Education Charity.
According to a new study by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University, comics are a better educational resource than traditional textbooks. The study investigated how the way information is presented can affect how easily it can be memorised. Dr Paul Aleixo is the lead researcher on the study and Nicola Streeten is a graphic novelist and comic scholar.
"The use of comic books actually enables students to better remember information. Our research showed that the students that read a comic book version got more memory questions correct compared to when the same information was presented in text format alone – or in a combination of random images and text. This shows that the way comic books are structured – to include a special combination of words and pictures in a certain sequence – increases students’ ability to remember information."
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- Aleixo, P. and Norris, C. (2010). The Comic Book Textbook. Education and Health, 28 (4), 72-74.
- Aleixo, P. and Norris, C. (2007). Comics, Reading and Primary Aged Children, Education and Health, 25, 70-73.
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- Atkins, M., 2013. Cruising the Village: A Visual Ethnography of Public Sex between Men in Manchester City Centre, Ph.D. University of Manchester.
- Aleixo, Paul and Sumner, Krystina (2016). Memory for biopsychology material presented in comic book format. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics.
- Burmark, L., 2008. Visual Literacy: What You Get is What You See, in Frey, N. and Fisher, D. eds., Teaching Visual Literacy: Using Comic Books, Graphic Novels, Anime, Cartoons, and more to Develop Comprehension and Thinking Skills, Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
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- Cohn, Neil and Patrick Bender. 2017. Drawing the line between constituent structure and coherence relations in visual narratives. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 43(2): 289-301
- Cohn, Neil. 2014. The architecture of visual narrative comprehension: the interaction of narrative structure and page layout in understanding comics. Frontiers in Psychology. 5: 680
- Cohn, Neil. 2013. The Visual Language of Comics: Introduction to the Structure and Cognition of Sequential Images. London: Bloomsbury.
- Cohn, Neil. 2013. Beyond speech balloons and thought bubbles: The integration of text and image. Semiotica. 2013(197): 35-63.
- Cohn, Neil, and Martin Paczynski. 2013. Prediction, events, and the advantage of Agents: The processing of semantic roles in visual narrative. Cognitive Psychology. 67 (3): 73-97.
- Cohn, Neil. 2013. Navigating comics: An empirical and theoretical approach to strategies of reading comic page layouts. Frontiers in Cognitive Science. 4: 1-15
- Cohn, Neil. 2012. Comics, linguistics, and visual language: The past and future of a field. In Bramlett, Frank (ed). Linguistics and the Study of Comics (pp. 92-118). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
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- Keen, Suzanne, 2011. “Fast Track to Narrative Empathy: Anthropomorphism and Dehumanization in Graphic Narratives.” SubStance, Volume 40, Number 1, (Issue 124), pp. 135-155.
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- Wolk, D., 2007. Reading comics: How graphic novels work and what they mean. Boston: Da Capo Press.