In the present study a comparison was made between three different visual formats of an educational television (ETV) programme. Subjects watched either a version with a studio presenter only , a version with inserted realistic visuals, or a version with inserted schematic visuals. These three versions differed only in visual format, the audio‐track was the same in all cases. Recognition and reproduction of the (abstract) subject‐matter of the programme were measured directly after seeing the programme (shortterm) and three months later (long‐term). The schematic version yielded better reproduction of the main issues of the programme, especially in the long term. The results indicate that schematic visualization of abstract subject‐matter should receive more consideration for application in ETV.