‘PowerPoint Is Bad For You!’ Says Professor, Pointing to His Prepared PowerPoint Slides

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Maybe slightly off topic here, but interesting none the less, and definitely bad news for those in the business of either putting together PowerPoint presentations or those regularly using them in their day-to-day job. The Sydney Morning Herald just covered a story coming out of the University of New South Wales how the use of PowerPoint isn’t at all effective for much of anything, particularly in functioning as it’s intended: to help people absorb and retain information. No word on how damaging Keynote is yet. Here’s some:

John Sweller, from the university’s faculty of education, developed the “cognitive load theory”.

“The use of the PowerPoint presentation has been a disaster,” Professor Sweller said. “It should be ditched.”

“It is effective to speak to a diagram, because it presents information in a different form. But it is not effective to speak the same words that are written, because it is putting too much load on the mind and decreases your ability to understand what is being presented.”

The findings that challenge common teaching methods suggest that instead of asking students to solve problems on their own, teachers helped students more if they presented already solved problems.

“Looking at an already solved problem reduces the working memory load and allows you to learn. It means the next time you come across a problem like that, you have a better chance at solving it,” Professor Sweller said.