Today, there are many brain exercise programs online that expect the client to have the motivation and interest to stay focused with an often tedious program. Many are random visual figure exercises to learn a series of images. The various types of visual and listening memory are not often over-viewed, and, what is presented are visual memory exercises that are difficult to complete for both the learner and instructor.
What is obviously missing from this paradigm is the crucial "listening-auditory memory" facet. Researchers have long written that auditory memory must couple with visual memory for the learner to understand or comprehend new information. Auditory/listening memory exercises must accompany the visual ones, and obtain effective results in the process.
This challenge becomes a complex measurement and evaluation process to discover what is effective and works with all learning levels and capabilities. Following years of test-train-testing iterations, puppets have been found to be an engaging, differentiating tool.
To teach rapid auditory-visual memory, and to make the training palatable and exciting, I engaged a family of historical vaudevillian ventriloquist puppets that taught sequential learning to children age 9, up to the adult learner, who appreciated "the Charlie McCarthy - Edgar Bergen retro Hollywood radio days".
Puppet characters must be carefully chosen as actors are for a play. Becoming an effective learning tool, we can learn from speaking puppets, but only when uniquely presented, are programmed effectively, and engage the learner. Students are taught how to interact and respond effectively.
Subsequently, it can not be "any puppet, with any instructional purpose, or with any filmed procedure", but should have a specific rationale and lesson objective in mind.
Puppet characters offer the following beneficial qualities:
1) They offer a non-threatening, stress free, fun-like presence, and can become a "family affair" for the learning process. The learner remains in an abstract "one-up" position. Although they can challenge your capabilities to the next level, they do not intimate. When they back-talk, you are not personally offended, as they have become your friend.
2) Their messages are rapidly understood. For example, they have been used in political cartoons and comic strips for decades.
3) Their vocal intonations penetrate the memory system for learning new material.
Always be selective when reviewing various memory exercise options. There must be a specific, time-and trial-tested inherent methodology, especially when engaging puppetry as a learning tool.
Specifically designed exercises, according to scientific cognitive theory practice, can improve our memory uniquely and easily. We can learn visual and auditory factual names, words, and sequential memories, as in learning technical procedures, having jumped past outdated, rote memory systems.
And, if we find that if we utilize puppet characters, and find that they give us "guff" as we learn new information, we really do not mind!