While there has been research about Sesame Street’s educational value for older children, there has not been much research on the effectiveness of new shows for infants and toddlers such as Teletubbies and Baby Einstein. Advertisers tout (and many parents assume) that these shows are vital tools for educating young children. But do toddlers really learn better from videos than from real-life interaction?
Krcmar et al recently performed an experiment with 48 toddlers who were taught new words by either showing them a videotape or having an adult demonstrate with an object. They found that the toddlers learned the best when an adult was teaching them.
"Toddlers pointed out the correct object after watching Teletubbies 40 percent of the time. They pointed out the correct object after being “taught” a word by an adult, in person, 67 percent of the time."
- See news coverage of this research