April 9, 2007

Death of PowerPoint?



Have you read the blog posts and articles all over the place stating that Professor John Sweller's recent research, published in the Sydney Morning Herald, proclaims that PowerPoint should be banned? Check out this great article by Dave Paradi, to set the record straight.

Here's a quote from the article in the Herald: "The use of the PowerPoint presentation has been a disaster," Professor Sweller said. "It should be ditched."

According to Paradi, the word PowerPoint isn't used anywhere in the original research paper, which makes me wonder if the reporter even quoted Sweller accurately. Some writers have seen a need to sensationalize this research which, in reality, is about "how instructional design should be influenced by his cognitive load theory and other designs," according to Paradi.

I'm not a huge fan of PowerPoint, not because there's anything wrong with PowerPoint, but because people just don't know how to use it properly. I'd much prefer a presenter to scribble on a flip chart (as I tend to do) than waste my time with a hundred slides of tiny text, multiple bullet points and charts and graphs on top of each other. If you're going to insist on using PowerPoint, it better be good.

PowerPoint certainly should not be banned; people should give their audiences the respect they deserve and either learn to use PowerPoint properly or don't use it. And if you'd like someone to make your PowerPoint for you, get in touch. :-)

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