Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

23 May 2008

Manga on the rise…

Clark @ 3:41 PM

I’ve long been a proponent of comics for learning, recognizing some great cognitive and emotional properties they possess, so I was thrilled when, in a sales presentation the potential client suggested using manga as a communication vehicle. It’s usually a hard sell, and here he was asking for it!

More is happening these days, thankfully. Tom King mentions a presentation on story and comics I’m sorry I missed, and talks about how Dan Pink’s new book on career guidance in the new generation is also in manga form.

I’d be thrilled if we can break down the corporate barriers to comics, graphic novels, etc (the potential client was in the K-12 education space). We need to overcome perceptions of lack of substance, but I suppose we also need to find out reliable and cost-effective ways to get them produced. Anyone?


  1. Garr Reynolds, of Presentation Zen has a great slide show of Pink’s book: Career Advice 08.

    Comment by Don Clark — 23 May 2008 @ 5:17 PM

  2. I think that there is resistance to the comic format in the corporate world but some of the corporations that I have done work for are realizing the importance of using graphics and images in training materials and work products. Using images to clearly communicate ideas and information has become more mainstream as visual thinking companies such as Xplane make the idea of workflow maps popular.

    In several of Wes Fryer’s Moving at the Speed of Creativity podcasts he refers to research which about how much faster we process information from images than from text. I think that the lesser cognitive load of scanning an image as opposed to scanning text to find the pertinent section and then the read text has to be translated into mental images makes images more accessible for quick reference and understanding. Or maybe it is just my art training who knows?

    Comment by Richard Sheehy — 24 May 2008 @ 7:18 AM

  3. Interesting what you say, Richard. I, too, find graphics easy to process. Of course, I spent part of my childhood laying around on the floor understanding things by the diagrams in the World Book, Popular Science, etc. I note that I find United Airlines emergency information (in the seat pocket in front of you) easier to process than American Airlines, as United uses graphics, and American uses photos (anyone has, or can take and forward, a photo of American’s sheet? I have the United). The extra context in the photos makes the image hard to comprehend.

    Don, thanks for the pointer to the presentation; great model of presentation, AND valuable content. How can you lose?

    Comment by Clark — 24 May 2008 @ 8:09 AM

  4. I think the next step is for someone to design a program that allows non-artists to choose various characters and settings in order to generate a graphic story for either online or printed form.

    Comment by Peter Shea — 27 May 2008 @ 5:38 AM

  5. Very cool concept! The visual impact of comics could definitely resonate with learners. Turning to popular mediums could be a rich source of inspiration for innovative training courseware – such as leveraging structure and narrative techniques from television and film. By identifying the key aspects that make a successful series or movie work, we might have a good shot at creating a learning experience that offers the same compelling traits. In addition to images that are artfully designed to send a message effectively, why not try to integrate elements of character and plot development that make many television shows and movies so addictive and popular?

    Matt Trupia
    Senior Instructional Designer
    NogginLabs, Inc
    We build custom e-learning

    Comment by Matt Trupia — 27 May 2008 @ 7:29 AM

  6. I’d love to have a tool like Peter suggests, though it sounds complex. There are a couple of online websites that let you do elementary comic strips (two characters talking, maybe some stock ‘sets’), but getting the visual style of graphic novels/manga to handle particular stories in a generic way sounds tough. And I definitely would love to scale to the level Matt suggests, adding in character and plot development.

    Comment by Clark — 27 May 2008 @ 2:00 PM

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