Use pictures when you teach, part 1


Let me offer a graphic (pun intended) example of this. Researchers at Michigan State’s medical school looked at 234 emergency room patients suffering from lacerations.2 Following treatment, but before discharge, all patients were given homecare wound instructions. Half the patients were given text-only instructions, while the other half were given the text plus pictures (cartoons illustrating keys points from the text). Three days later researchers phoned the patients and inquired about the success of their care at home. Here are the statistical highlights from those calls. First, patients who received the cartoons had a lot better recall of the information given in the instructions than the text-only group did. When quizzed, 46 percent of the people who got the picture-based instructions answered all four wound-care questions correctly, compared with only 6 percent of the people who got the text-only instructions. Additionally, the patients who got the pictures had 43 percent better actual adherence to those wound-care instructions than the text-only crowd. And, no big surprise here, 24 percent more of the picture crowd had actually read the instructions in the first place.


Hard Goals : The Secret to Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (Mark Murphy)