Having an interactive component to media increases learning!

We used this hypothesis when creating Blue’s Clues and Super Why. We know that kids can practice skills and retain information better by doing. Therefore, if we were to replicate the “interactive” experience on television, would kids learn more? In fact, they do. Dr. Jennings Bryant proved that kids who watched Blue’s Clues scored better on standardized tests than kids who don’t watch Blue’s Clues. In addition, Dr. Deb Linebarger also found that kids who watch Super Why score better on standardized reading tests than kids who don’t watch Super Why. I will post these studies in another post.

The new research out from Georgetown University’s amazing Dr. Sandra Calvert, looked at young preschoolers and computer games to see if an interactive component improves kids learning. And it does.

So, when you hear your kids screaming from the next room (SUPER STORY ANSWER IS…FRIEND!) or when they are playing an interactive learning app, they are learning. What they are learning? Well, that all depends on the content.


Eighty-eight percent of 24- 36-month-olds are exposed to screen media, spending an average of 2 hours on a typical day with television programs, DVDs, computer games, and video games. Not all screen media are alike, however. A video presentation cannot respond contingently to a child’s actions like an adult or a computer game can. We asked whether playing an interactive computer game improves children’s success at transferring information from the screen to a real-life situation.

30- and 36-month-olds either watched a video of characters popping out of their hiding place, played an interactive computer game where the characters popped out of their hiding place after the children pressed a computer key, or watched an adult find the hidden character through a one-way window. Children who watched the adult find the characters or played the interactive computer game found the characters in the real-life room better than the children who watched the video. These findings suggest that children’s learning from a screen can be improved by adding an interactive component to the experience.

To read the full report from Georgetown University’s amazing, Dr. Sandra Calvert, click here: Curious Buddies Research