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Sabtu, 02 Februari 2008

The Tipping Point 3

Chapter III: The Stickiness Factor – Sesame Street, Blue’s Clues, and Educational Virus

Experts argued that educational TV was not possible since it’s one direction, low involvement teaching. Nonetheless, people behind Sesame Street tried to disprove the argument. They were obsessed to educational TV. They are obsessed in devising educational virus to increase preschool literacy to combat poverty. Later, Sesame Street was proved succeed in increasing children literacy by intensive researches. The quality of Sesame Street makes it memorable in children memory. It is STICKY!

To increase stickiness of a message, experts use various techniques. One is repeats, another is celebrity endorsement, and another is direct marketing. The treasure hunt – a little gold box – is a connection and trigger for inviting further response. Leventhal experiment (1960’s) gave high fear and low fear booklets to two groups of Yale students about the danger of tetanus. Although the high fear booklets increased the awareness, the lack of the treasure hunt made the students take still no action to get shots. A map and time schedule to go to the place where action should take was needed as the treasure hunt. Nowadays, the stickiness factor becomes even more significant because we are exposed to a plethora of messages and advertisement

What was behind Sesame Street? The most important key is how to hold children attention, while TV watching experience is passive. Children can be distracted from watching by various distractions, such as toys. However, based on a research, they have the ability to strategically watch the TV show. Children watch only if they understand, while they look away when they confuse. Ed Palmer’s innovation resulted in an effective way to test children attention. Side slideshow distracters were played beside every Sesame Street show before a group of children to decide whether it’s OK to launch. The indicator of attention was derived from eye movement tracking.

An improvement to Sesame Street was Blue’s Clues. Blue’s Clues took away complex messages that cannot be understood by children. On the one hand, Sesame Street is a magazine show consisting of short, non-narrative segments, based on an argument that 30-second ad can sell a box of cereal to a kid and hopefully can sell a lesson too. On the other hand, Blue’s Clues conveys stories or narrations, based on the fact that children likes to watch a story or narration and make up narratives based on their daily experience and imagination. Another correction made by Blue’s Clues was avoiding humors and jokes. Blue’s Clues is always literal and has the same plot.

Another significant breakthrough, Blue’s Clues plays repeatedly the very same show from Monday to Friday and plays only a new show next Monday (James Earl Jones effect). The reason behind is that a search of understanding and predictability leading to discovery is a significant factor of preschool learning. Moderate layers of complexity are necessary to trigger more understanding from one repeat to the next. Furthermore, the sequence of the clues matters. The format and presentation as well as the inherent stickiness of the message also matter.

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