With the implementation of the new 3-3-4 system, undergraduate students are required to study an array of General Education and co-curricular learning courses. To learn and master a diversity of subject-matters in a short period of time is very challenging, especially to students who are with weak English background and taking EMI courses. As textual format is dominant in course materials, the success of learning is largely determined by students’ language and reading proficiency (Thomas & McKay, 2010). To promote effective learning and minimize the confounding effect of language proficiency on learning, we propose the use of graphic novel (also known as comics) techniques in developing course materials. In this project funded by the Teaching Development Grants (Reference code: T0122) of the Hong Kong Institute of Education, we evaluate the pedagogical value of graphic novel using the subject pool of the BEd core course ‘Basic Psychology for Educators’ which has a huge enrollment of students from various faculties.
We work with student artists to create a set of innovative course materials with the use of graphic novel. Then, we conduct a randomized-controlled-trial experiment to evaluate the effect of graphic novels on learning outcomes and motivation. Moreover, we also conduct a series of interviews to collect opinions from teaching staff and students on the use of graphic novel.
The project aims to promote the pedagogical value of graphic novel. It is expected that application of graphic novels in developing teaching materials using will reduce students' anxiety in learning about new subjects and assist consolidation of memories through both visual and verbal channels. Student who have learnt with graphic novels will also acquire techniques of knowledge organization through a combination of textual and non-textual information, which is a learning strategy similar to mind-mapping.
Thomas, P. R.. & McKay, J. B. (2010). Cognitive styles and instructional design in university learning. Learning and Individual Differences, 20, 197-202.