OU study shows graphic novel readers retain more information versus traditional textbook users

OU professor Jeremy Short to host exhibit on graphic novel advantages at TED x OU.
by Matthew Price Published: January 25, 2013
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“Maybe just a simple graphic explanation ... is the way to go, and maybe where people should be putting their resources if they want their employees to recall things better, their students to recall things better,” Short said.

Aaron McKenny, a doctoral candidate at OU, was co-author of the study. McKenny said when he was first exposed to one of Short's graphic novel textbooks, he read the entire thing cover-to-cover overnight, whereas he's never been inspired to try that with a regular textbook. He said students or employees are more likely to want to finish reading instruction in graphic novel form.

“If they're more motivated to read (a graphic novel), but they're not going to read a textbook, then their recall for a textbook is going to be pretty low,” McKenny said.

Dave Ketchen, a professor at Auburn University who has written traditional textbooks as well as graphic texts such as “Tales of Garcon: The Franchise Players” (a graphic novel cowritten by Short focusing on franchising and family business), also spoke out in favor of incorporating graphic elements in teaching.

“Storytelling has long been a powerful tool to convey rich concepts in organizations, and it may be that the most effective employee handbooks in the future will have pictures and a story to tell,” Ketchen said in a news release.


by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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Maybe just a simple graphic explanation ... is the way to go, and maybe where people should be putting their resources if they want their employees to recall things better, their students to recall things better.”

Jeremy Short

Lead author of a recent study from the University of Oklahoma on graphic novels,

Lead author of a recent study from the University of Oklahoma on graphic novels

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