The Case Against Powerpoint Presentations

How about digital blackboards?

I am going to try digital blackboard presentations for a bit to see how that goes largely because research shows that fancy Powerpoint presentations help the audience retain more information than “old-school” teaching methods.

Kind of like this:

Personally, I have seen my share of Powerpoint presentations that make me absorb less information than just saying it without visuals. Not to mention that being taught with visuals and text scribbled on a board on-the-fly feels a lot more personal and interactive.

That said, Powerpoint slides has its place. My favorite communicator that uses slides is Steve Jobs, the slides are used as segues or markers and when a digital picture or animation makes it clearer. Here is one of his best:

However, don’t just take my word for it. Thankfully there are some really smart people that have done the homework to prove the point. Here are some excerpts from research done on this topic:

Information retention from PowerPoint and traditional lectures

…use in university lectures has influenced investigations of PowerPoint’s effects on student performance (e.g., overall quiz/exam scores) in comparison to lectures based on overhead projectors, traditional lectures (e.g., “chalk-and-talk”)…

Students retained 15% less information delivered verbally by the lecturer during PowerPoint presentations, but they preferred PowerPoint presentations over traditional presentations.

Does a High Tech (Computerized, Animated, Powerpoint) Presentation Increase Retention of Material Compared to a Low Tech (Black on Clear Overheads) Presentation?

The purpose was to determine if differences in (a) subjective evaluation; (b) short-term retention of material; and (c) long-term retention of material occurred with the use of static overheads versus computerized, animated PowerPoint for a presentation to medical students.”

“There were no significant differences between the groups on any parameter. Conclusions: In this study, students rated both types of presentation equally and displayed no differences in short- or long-term retention of material.