One of the most powerful 'after action reviews' we ever facilitated was at the gathering of a group of change experts from several large companies who exchanged views on the key insights they had created in helping their organisations embrace continuous improvement as a way of working. We ran the session with the help of the cartoonist Graham Shaw and to this day, the participants still have a rich and vivid recall of the key messages....so why is that?
Well, there's some really interesting research regarding the power of cartoons and using them as metaphors for learning:
- Our brains actually interpret images concurrently whilst text on the other hand is processed linearly.
- This means we understand, grasp, retain and recall images and their associated meaning better than words.
- Research has shown that the best remembered part of any message is the cartoon
- Brain research suggests that using metaphors, pictures and symbols helps cement lessons and transfer learning to everyday life and future learning. A visual representation of an experience can be effective long after the experience is over, reminding a group or participant of the key lessons learned. (Willis, 2006, 2010)
So with this in mind, how can you transform your learning processes to create rich and lasting insights with cartoons and metaphors?