Do slide-driven presentations enhance public speaking?

Speakers have become presenters and the use of Powerpoint (or other presentation packages) has become the norm. Powerpoint has transformed the way we prepare and lecture in not many years, sometimes for the better, but all too often for the worse. I’m interested in what effects there are and what works and what doesn’t work. Could Powerpoint do for audiences and students in particular what fastfood has done for diet? How do different practices affect pedagogic outcomes? What should we be avoiding?
There’s surprisingly little research on this. Much of the advice comes from business. But the aims of business presentations are not the same as those of education. The advice is rarely founded clearly on rigorous research. So far my research in this area has been largely confined to sources related to business presentations and the advice often fits with my obversations and experience. Having found myself becoming more and more reliant on Powerpoint, but fed-up with so many presentations I decided to see what information was available. Two books have stood out so far; one is Richard Atkinson’s “Lend Me Your Ears” (2004), and Richard E. Mayer’s “Multimedia Learning” (2001) Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. The first is an entertaining and powerful book about public speaking in most contexts. It touches on the use of slide presentations but has some good advice on when and how to use slides (see separate page). Richard Mayer is an educational psychologist and appears to be the leading writer and researcher on multimedia learning (advice to follow).


About nickzsc

I'm a civil engineer and a lecturer in the Department of Real Estate and Construction at Oxford Brookes. Amongst others I have interests in problem-based learning (PBL) and improving the learning experience through the use of various technologies including 'Virtual Learning Enviroments', wikis and blogs. To be continued
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6,278 Responses to Do slide-driven presentations enhance public speaking?

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