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TELEVIZION No. 25/2012/E

TV as learning environment

Humans cannot not learn, and living is learning – these are 2 of the most basic principles of modern education. The aim is to foster independent, competent individuals who play an active, socially and ecologically responsible role in shaping their world.
To support children in their appropriation of the world they live in, they need a learning environment based on acceptance and attentiveness, along with learning spaces which foster autonomy and prevent fear, devalorisation, and humiliation.
Today, the media are an integral part of children’s everyday lives. They offer an attractive learning environment which is, above all, self-selected and contextualised as a leisure activity. This means that, whatever television offers, children will only make use of it if they recognise it as attractive and meaningful for themselves. They will only tune into a programme again voluntarily if they feel enriched after watching it, and go out thinking: “That made me feel good”. For the design of a programme, particularly if the intention is to convey specific content, this means that it must be strategically oriented towards the child in front of the television. The focus must not be on the interest of the adults, or the content, but on questions such as “What is the special value of the information for children?”, “How does this relate to the world as experienced by their age group?”, “How can I tell the story in such a way that children can develop their own opinion, as they watch, and take up their own position?”, “How does this enrich children’s emotional lives, e.g. through humour?”.
Children themselves have a broad view of where they have learnt a lot from TV. It goes, as an international study shows, far beyond what adults would consider as educational TV, but depends on what adults offer them. Children, like adults, have a right to emotionally enriching TV programmes which are presented in an age-appropriate manner and realised in a variety of genres, and which provide information they can understand.
This issue of TelevIZIon summarises principles of humanistic education and brain research, and uses various reception studies to show specific examples of how children’s programmes and multimedia platforms can successfully be made both attractive and beneficial – from second language learning, natural sciences and “learning how to learn” to children’s news programmes

Maya Götz
Head of the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television



B. Fuhs/M. Götz/L. Herwartz-Emden/ E. Schlote/A. Speck-Hamdan
Spaces for learning – without a wagging finger

The article analyses which concepts of learning empower children and draws conclusions about the learning environments offered by international children’s TV programmes.

A. Holler/M. Götz/A. Egerer/V. Geiger
SpongeBob or Willi wants to know it all?

An international study among 5 countries (Germany, USA, Argentina, Cuba, UK) inquired 1,412 children’s self-perceived meaningful learning spaces and increase in knowledge through children’s TV programmes.

A. Holler/M. Götz/A. Egerer/ J. Schwarz
“This is the TV presenter I’d like to have”

A study among 24 countries ascertained children’s preferred learning companion for knowledge programmes.

Kelli L. Frank
The cost of virtual status: are you “in” or “out”?

A study explored children’s experiences in 3 online gaming communities putting a special focus on socioeconomic status and consumer behavior in these virtual spaces.

M. Götz/A. Holler/D. Nastasia/ S. Nastasia
“I want to know how high the wave really was”

The article summarizes the results of a study in Germany, Brazil, the USA, Ecuador, and Cuba on whether and how children perceived the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters in Japan in March 2011.

Kirsten Schneid
Top source of information or disaster-free zone?

The article presents the results of a study of 32 broadcasters from 32 countries, asking whether they covered the incidents in Japan in March 2011 in their children’s programming, and if so, how.

Michaela Levi/Maya Götz
“Was it a monster coming through the water?”

222 children from 8 countries wrote picture letters to TV executives, showing how they imagined the incidents in Japan and what they would like to have seen on television regarding these events.

Fabian Nold
Learning together in a group

The author describes the goals of preschool education in Japan and the cultural concepts influencing these.


Andrea Holler
“He speaks Russian – just like me”
Children’s programmes offer opportunities to support the language learning of preschool children, especially the secondlanguage acquisition of preschool children with immigration backgrounds.

Maya Götz/Judith Schwarz
I Got It!: what children get out of an educational programme
An IZI study tested the increase of knowledge among 1,564 viewers of the Southeast Asian programme I Got It!.

Elke Schlote
Learning how to learn

The article presents the results of an IZI reception study that investigated which elements of children’s knowledge programmes help fostering metacognitive skills.

S. Unterstell/M. Götz/A. Holler
“Eat plenty of vegetables and drink lots of milk”
This IZI research study involving 3- to 5-year-old children investigated the issue of whether, and to what extent, they remember health messages transmitted in the programme Caillou.

Sh. Fisch/R. Lesh/E. Motoki/ S. Crespo/V. Melfi
Cross-platform learning
Using the example of Cyberchase, the authors examined in a 3-year study among 672 US-children aged 8 to 11 years how they use and learn from multiple media platforms.


Heike vom Orde
Children, learning, and educational TV

Research Bibliography Children, Learning, and Educational TV


Maya Götz
How people learn – insights from brain research

Elke Schlote
Who can be a researcher?


Prof. Dr. Gerald Hüther
Learning enthusiastically

H. Chung/L. Araújo/S. Bozdemir
Learning cultures in different countries