When developing presentations and/or content for eLearning it is important that the creation doesn't get in the way of the lesson. We have all heard the phrase 'Death by PowerPoint' but maybe a refresher can't hurt.
- Keep the text short on the slides. Rule of thumb here is 8 x 8; Eight words per line, Eight lines per slide MAX. You can use the notes feature when creating your content to add the additional information you need to be sure to cover. This puts it in a place where you can see and access it, while keeping the presentation sleek for the audience. Example:
- Keep the color scheme simple. Over use of color can be distracting. Four to Six colors are adequate for any presentation. Within those selected one should be the primary color for the entire presentation and the other colors should be used in degrees...secondary color is the complement, and so on.
- Avoid color conflicts. This is a tough one for many people. There are such things as color conflicts...ever looked at red on a blue backdrop? or green on red? Hard to see? That is why I say 'color conflict' because the colors conflict with the eye and get in the way of your presentation. There are online tools you can use to identify color combinations that will support the message you want to convey. One example is found here.
- Be Aware of the Numbers. Numbers are great...usually. Too many numbers or numbers that require qualifying statements should not be put into your presentation. They should be included in a report that you would hand out at the end of the instruction period. This accomplishes two things, one people don't get lost while you speak to the large and detailed information; and two, those that have interest can stick around at the end to ask questions about the specifics. Keep in mind, this isn't saying don't use numbers. Just not complex or overly large numbers.
- Make it All Count. It has been reported that the learner only retains 1/3 of what is covered in any given scenario. Knowing this means that you can't waste time on images and words that aren't supporting your topic. Selection of the right images for the message you are conveying takes time, so pace yourself. Also, be careful when selecting images to use. It is key that you identify the user permissions associated with the selected image and where your use falls. You can do this easily by placing the image into the Google Search Bar.
- Effects that Aren't Special. Special effects can enhance a presentation but only when used strategically. Be mindful of this. Know that they serve to emphasize critical points, but should be used sparingly. There are reports that some effects have been known to trigger vertigo in individuals. This is not special.
- Ur nt txtg. Translation: You're not texting. Avoid using text speak in slides always. Also, do not use abbreviations before you have defined them. This leaves people to assume what you mean. And too many abbreviations on the same slide (defined or not) is a draw back as well.
- Blackouts are Good. Use the ability to include a blank slide (aka Blackout) in your presentation. This works nicely when you want to move into important dialogue or activity. The blank slide brings the focus back to you. Another option is to use the button on the remote that darkens the screen as well. Sometimes the focus needs to be on you and what you are saying, so use your tools.
- Make the experience engaging. Although the slides allow you to present information, it is you and what you add that matters. The slides are an added feature to what you have come to share... not the other way around! Make sure you know what is on the slides, share it as simply as possible, and enjoy the rewards of your dynamic efforts! This last one isn't on the slide(s) but is critical just the same.
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