The Brookes student experience of electronic presentations (typically Microsoft Powerpoint) in lectures: relevant research into multimedia learning and novel ways of using Powerpoint


Nick Spencer Chapman, School of Built Environment

The topic of the paper

The use of electronic presentation at Brookes and elsewhere has grown enormously in recent years, but there is surprisingly little research into the effect on learning. Dissatisfaction with the way Powerpoint is frequently used is widely expressed. ‘Rule-of-thumb’ guidance abounds and various styles of presentation have become commonplace.

Why it is of concern

Powerpoint has become a common form for delivery of lectures and for generating handouts. Any improvement in the student experience would be welcome.

What was done (methods)

I have developed an electronic questionnaire to determine how students in the School of the Built Environment respond to their experiences of electronic presentation and associated handouts (e.g. reduced copies of slides 2, 3, 4 or 4 slides per page) often provided.

What are the main outcomes

In addition to the survey results I intend to outline research on multi-media learning and cognitive overload carried out by Richard Mayer (2001) and implications for presentations.

Finally, I will outline and demonstrate various alternative approaches to using Powerpoint including the ‘storyboard’ approach which uses only titles, graphics and the ‘notes’ pane (in the Powerpoint interface) as described by Cliff Atkinson (2005) and the ‘relational presentation’ approach as described by Robert Lane and others (2006).

This session will include demonstrations of some alternative approaches and how to implement them, with discussion of the issues involved in preparation and also in the production of hand-outs.