>> Overview research
How can television popularise knowledge and support the provision of education? It is clear that this is seen as an important social duty, for people have been talking about the “transformation into the knowledge society“ for a long time now. Educational television is included in the programme mandate of public service television in Germany – but not only that: particular channels for children, and also for adults, are extremely popular. The reasons for this success, and which topics educational television addresses (also in terms of a worldwide comparison), are questions which require media and reception research.
The IZI continually undertakes studies on educational and knowledge channels and also on international developments in educational television
TelevIZIon 25/2012/E „TV as learning environment“
TelevIZIon 18/2005/E „Learning in Television”
“I Got It!“ – Collaborative Project by the IZI and the PRIX JEUNESSE Foundation in Cooperation with the Goethe Institute in Thailand
I Got It! is the first TV knowledge magazine programme for children in South Asia. Under the motto “Nine Television Broadcasters – One Vision“ the Goethe Institute developed the ten-minute TV knowledge magazine together with state and public service television stations from Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. An evaluation study was carried out as part of the conclusion and handover of the project, which, from 2015, the participating broadcasters will continue to run in cooperation with one another but without the Goethe Institute as the central organising institution. In the study by the IZI and the PRIX JEUNESSE foundation in cooperation with the Goethe Institute in Thailand, the product (the programme I Got It!) was evaluated in a media analysis. In addition, the impact of the projects on the broadcasters and producers was explored in expert interviews. Furthermore, the reception of the product by the target group – children – was evaluated in reception studies with children from different countries.
Holler, Andrea; Götz, Maya; Schneid, Kirsten; Grosser, Martina (2015) Project Evaluation I Got It! Goethe-Institut Thailand: 2015
Promoting Tolerance: Media-Supported Lessons
To mark ARD’s “Tolerance“ theme week, the IZI developed and evaluated educational products on the themes of “Sexual Orientation“, “Life in Different Cultures“ and “Tolerance Towards Our Own Bodies“.
The IZI’s educational and interactive online programme “Was hättest du getan?“ (“What Would You Have Done?“) was linked with the cross-media reportage project “Be True to Yourself“ by the education department of the BR (Bayerischer Rundfunk). Here, the protagonists Conny, Nicko and Kosrat face big decisions which require tolerance on the part of the people around them as well tolerance towards themselves. These decision situations served as a basis for filming short video clips with adolescents from a Berlin debating club and experts from the respective topic areas.
Using video clips and additional material, e.g. statistics, worksheets and a diagram showing the diversity in Germany broken down to the size of a school class, the IZI put together a temporary website. This temporary web product was tested, using the case of “Kosrat“, as a digital lesson with 105 pupils aged 12 to 16 in years 7 and 8 at German “Mittelschule“ and “Gymnasium“ schools (the former for pupils of medium academic ability, the latter leading to the university entrance certificate).
Grips (BR-alpha): The Online Learning Platform for School Pupils
As part of a formative evaluation and in collaboration with BR-alpha, the IZI studied how pupils engage with the e-learning programme Grips. The purpose of the online programme is to help pupils fill gaps in knowledge in the subjects of German, English and mathematics. The content is based on the examination material for years five to eleven in the German school system. Each subject is divided into around 40 discrete lessons. The pupils learn through films, follow-up reading and exercises. In total, the IZI interviewed 76 pupils from years eight, nine and ten in the German secondary school system as well as from a video course preparing for the German secondary school leaving certificate during their lesson in the computer room. The pupils each worked on a topic in a self-directed way. During their session with Grips, the participating pupils’ facial expressions were filmed by a camera mounted on the monitor, and the way they used the programme was recorded. After that, the two recordings were arranged as picture-in-picture in order to interpret the pupils’ user behaviour and to identify moments experienced by them as particularly positive or negative. Finally, the pupils filled in a qualitative questionnaire in which they gave feedback on the details of the unit.
Learning Through Stories (2012)
The learning opportunities offered by fictional programmes were investigated using the Canadian programme Dino Dan, which is broadcast on ARD. The series tells stories from the daily life of the 10 year-old protagonist Dan Henderson, a committed dinosaur fan. He carries out a range of experiments, employing various scientific methods. The question underpinning the study was, inter alia, the extent to which the programme gives pre-school children strategies for acquiring knowledge and a positive attitude towards research. As part of a reception study by the IZI, 59 children aged between three and six each watched two episodes of Dino Dan on four consecutive days. Before and after watching the epiodes, the children were interviewed individually about their knowledge of dinosaurs and their attitude to research, learning and imagination. The reception situations were video-recorded and evaluated with respect to how the children engaged and interacted with the plot.
Holler, Andrea; Götz, Maya: I like Dino Dan "because it was pure fantasy". A reception study with preschool children. TelevIZIon, 26/2013/E, 34-38.
Dino Dan: "Creating excitement for the world". A conversation with J.J. Johnson and Christin Simms. TelevIZIon, 26/2013/E, 32-33.
When do Children’s Television Programmes Provide Children with Self-Perceived Learning? (2012)
Children learn through television – the question is: what are they learning? An international study gave children the opportunity to report back themselves on occasions when they “really learned something from television“. Whereas studies usually address the question of what kind of programme content children remember, this was the first time an international study went down a different route, giving children their own say. 1,412 children aged between seven and ten in Germany, the USA, Scotland, Ireland, Argentina and Cuba drew and described occasions when they “really learned a lot from television“.
Holler, Andrea; Götz, Maya; Egerer, Anne; u.a.: SpongeBob or Willi wants to know it all? Children's self-perceived learning from television. TelevIZIon, 25/2012/E, 11-13.
What Kind of Learning Companion (Presenter) Would Children Like to Have? (2012)
Knowledge programmes are important for children; they facilitate learning, and if they are well made they are also a pleasure to watch. Usually the programmes are fronted by one or two presenters – mostly men – who present and explain something to the children. Do children want men to be the ones who explain the world to them? The IZI asked 3,399 children between the ages of seven and ten in 27 countries what kind of presenters they would like to see in a knowledge programme in which someone experiences, investigates and explains something exciting on their behalf. In addition, we asked the children to evaluate their own appearance, and we compared their responses with the descriptions they gave of their ideal learning facilitators.
Holler, Andrea; Götz, Maya; Egerer, Anne; Schwarz, Judith: “This is the TV presenter I’d like to have”. TelevIZIon, 25/2012/E, 30-31.
Holler, Andrea; Götz, Maya; Alper, Meryl: Children’s preferences for TV show hosts: an international perspective on learning from television. Journal of Children and Media, Volume 10, 2016 - Issue 4, 497-507.
What do Children Learn – Without Noticing – from Knowledge Programmes? (2009)
Using four knowledge formats for children, the IZI investigated what 9 to 13 year-olds gain from programmes that present knowledge in an entertaining way. 165 children aged between nine and 13 from primary and “Mittelschule“ (catering for medium academic ability at secondary level) schools in and around Munich were shown extracts from Wissen macht Ah! (Knowledge goes Ah!) (WDR), WOW die Entdeckerzone (WOW The Discovery Zone) (Super RTL), pur+ (pure+) (ZDF) and Geolino TV (NICK). The IZI conducted a study – involving interviews and drawings – to identify which programme content and explanations the children were able to remember immediately after the reception and also 14 days later. One of the key questions was: “What do children learn about metacognition and problem-solving strategies from these programmes? To what extent can children ‘crib‘ problem-solving techniques from these programmes?“ “Metacognition“ is a collective term for a range of phenomena, activities and experiences connected with knowledge and control over one’s own cognitive functions. It involves e.g. knowledge of learning and problem-solving strategies and the design and monitoring of learning processes, but also knowledge of how to motivate oneself and assess one's own success.
Schlote, Elke: Learning how to learn. How knowledge programmes can support children's learning. TelevIZIon, 25/2012/E, 26-29.
Mythbusters, Galileo, Quarks und Co.: a Study of Young People's Reception of Science Programmes (2008)
In television there are several ways of presenting the natural sciences: through explanation, as in Quarks und Co.; through narrative, as in Mythbusters; or by being cool, as in Galileo. How young people of different educational abilities react to this and what they learn from it has been analysed in a reception study.
Educational Television around the World: International Interviews of Experts (2008)
Based on problem-centred expert interviews with programming executives from public service broadcasters, independent broadcasters and broadcasters in the education sector, a questionnaire was produced that was filled in by 27 television producers from 26 channels in 20 countries.
Conflict Management in Children’s and Youth Television. An International Media Analysis (2007-2009)
Lemish, Peter; Schlote, Elke: Media Portrayals of Youth Involvement in Social Change: The Roles of Agency, Praxis, and Conflict Resolution Processes in TV Programs. In: Thomas Tufte (ed.): NORDICOM Yearbook 2009.
And Every Day You’re Greeted by the Same Face? Presenters in Children’s Television (2007)
How can the approx. 52 presenters in public service and independent children’s television be described? How attractive are they, and what makes them attractive for children? Here, an enumeration gives some intitial answers, while a meta-analysis of IZI studies sheds light on the children’s assessment criteria.
Schlote, Elke; Gröller, Monika: Presenting the same faces in the same roles? Gender and typical roles of children's TV presenters in Germany. TelevIZIon, 21/2008/E, 26-27.
The Parent Ticker: New Educational Support in Pre-School Television (2006-2008)
For a long time, studies on pre-school television have shown that children learn a lot – and particularly well – when parents and children watch the programmes together and talk about the content. How that plays out in each individual case, and what makes for productive communication during television viewing is, however, still up for debate. The IZI took this as its starting point, developing an innovation in collaboration with the WDR (a German public broadcaster): the parent ticker, an intermittently superimposed information bar which gives parents background information, references and concrete tips on how to support their children during the reception.
The first studies were undertaken by Shalom Fisch in 2006 for the IZI in New York; general information and jokes for parents were superimposed in a similar bar during the pre-school slot. In the experiment, Fisch employed an educationally enhanced “mommy bar” and was able to prove that this can enhance communication during television viewing.
In Germany, the first step was to implement this within Die Sendung mit dem Elefanten (The Programme with the Elephant), a programme aimed at 2 to 5 year-olds which – advised by the IZI, among others – integrates current findings in pre-school pedagogical research.
3 studies were undertaken with the aid of the WDR and in collaboration with WDR media researchers.
Germany: Dr. Maya Götz, Andrea Holler, Sabrina Bachmann (IZI)
USA: Dr. Shalom M. Fisch (MediaKidz New York)
Shalom M. Fisch: Die “Mommy-Bar”: Getting parents and preschoolers talking. In: TelevIZIon, 20/2007/E, 44-46.
Learning English through Pre-School Programmes and through Die Sendung mit dem Elefanten (The Programme with the Elephant) (2006-2007)
Learning a foreign language is particularly easy for children of pre-school age. The medium of television can also offer learning opportunities in this respect. In a study with 160 children from Munich kindergartens, four conceptually different programmes were evaluated. Some of the results were implemented in a follow-up project in Die Sendung mit dem Elefanten (The Programme with the Elephant). This programme repeatedly presents brief songs, counting rhymes and stories in English (the principle of “immersive learning“). But does it make more sense to present the English or the German version of an episode first? This question was investigated in a study with 36 kindergarten and pre-school children. It was a collaborative study with the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.
Michael Kirch, Michael; Speck-Hamdan, Angelika: One, two, three with Dora, Elephant and Co. Learning English at preschool age - A comparison of programme concepts. TelevIZIon, 20/2007/E, 28-33.
Holler, Andrea; Bachmann, Sabrina; Götz, Maya: Peppa Pig – First in English or in German? A programme tested by preschool children. TelevIZIon, 20/2007/E, 34.
Quality Criteria for Educational Programmes and Their Implementation in „Wissen macht Ah! (2005)
As part of the “Knowledge and documentary programmes for children” project, various programme formulas were tested for their attractiveness and learning outcomes with primary school students and, on this basis, quality criteria were formulated for educational programmes. Among these programmes was the magazine programme Wissen macht Ah! (WDR), in which everyday facts and interconnections are explained in short, humorous features. The study found that the programme was attractive in many respects and of sound educational benefit, but it also became clear that there were opportunities for improvement. In 2 follow-up studies the same episode was deliberately altered and re-tested.
Götz, Maya: Constructing entry points to knowledge: Increasing the appeal and improving the learning outcomes of educational programmes. TelevIZIon, 22/2009/E, 46-48.
TelevIZIon “Learning in Television” 18/2005/E.
Knowledge and Documentary Programmes for Children (2002-2003)
Children's televisual diet is dominated by fiction programmes which are entertaining and appealing. Knowledge and documentary programmes certainly have a strong market presence for parents and are desired by adults, but for children they are, for the most part, less attractive. Using actual programmes, this research project aims to isolate sections which are attractive to children and facilitate a positive approach to the subject matter for them.
Götz, Maya: Learning in knowledge and documentary programmes. In: TelevIZIon, 18/2005/E, 24-33.