This short article from Good Magazine packs a big idea: what if the books that students (of all levels) learned from looked less like the textbooks we know today and more like comic books? One example of this would be “March” by John Lewis (above), a personal account of the American civil right movement told in graphic novel form.
Heretical as the concept may be, the article argues that such a shift in format would have a positive impact on learning, citing research by Jeremy Short, a professor at Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma. Short found that among two groups of students who studied the same material in two different formats—one as a traditional textbook, the other as a graphic novel—the latter group performed better in retaining information and even in comprehension.
The idea that more—if not most—textbooks could look like comic books is radical but it also sounds surprisingly achievable when you think about how hard it is to effect positive change in education. It would also make for a watershed event in the history of the frequently derided but nevertheless wonderfully resilient art form of comics. For one thing, it could dramatically change the industry of comics itself, creating new demand for the talents of comic book writers and artists, probably stoking popular interest in comics, and raising the bar for comics in general. For a medium that was once nearly decimated by accusations that it corrupted the minds of young children, this would be the ultimate rehabilitation.