How to avoid Death by PowerPoint
(and still provide notes…)

Death by PowerPoint, in which the words spoken by a lecturer are simultaneously presented on slides, is endured by many learners the world over.  When learners are expected to listen and read at the same time, the technique is not teaching and simply becomes an ineffective form of telling.  Ineffective because it attempts to force two modes of language through one route, resulting in interference and reduced processing.  The image below refers to an overuse of the language channel described in How Adults Use the Visual Medium.

Yet this flawed approach is not inevitable; lecturers who wish to display text can allow their students time to read text in silence, and then comment on the points using different words to avoid redundancy.  Notes can be provided separately with gaps for students to fill in, while the lecturer concentrates on delivery.

Click on the image to see how PowerPoint affects Winston Churchill’s 1940 ‘Fight on the Beaches’ speech…