Shoot down slideware bullet points

NASA's bad slide
No wonder no one could figure out what happened

As of this writing, it has been 24 years since 1988 (man, you don’t know how old that makes me feel). You would think that would be enough time for us to figure out that filling slides with text doesn’t work.

Why 1988? That’s the year John Sweller formulated Cognitive Load Theory, a theory about how we learn things. It’s related to the work of Princeton’s George A. Miller in 1956 that suggests we can only retain around seven discrete items in short-term memory. Though CLT has a number of implications for learning, we’re concerned here with the insight that when we are presented with both a written and an “out loud” version of the same information, we ignore one or the other. In other words, we can’t listen and read at the same time. Continue reading “Shoot down slideware bullet points”

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Don’t let the tools run you

clutter by Sean MacEntee
Creative Commons License photo credit: Sean MacEntee

Do you find yourself getting sucked into either the defaults of PowerPoint (bullet point after bullet point), or unable to resist throwing all the shiny effects into your presentations?

Garr Reynolds is the leading voice in effective presentation design these days–the overall design of the whole presentation, not just the presentation software part, but he is probably best known for his teaching on the effective use of presentation software.

In his article Progress and the intentional selection of less Garr points out that “while technology has evolved in dramatic ways over the last generation, our deep human need for visceral connections, and personal engagement has not changed.” He is certainly not building up to an anti-technology screed, but rather making the case for choosing technology wisely.

Continue reading “Don’t let the tools run you”

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