A month and a half ago I was given two slide decks that totaled 86 slides of technical material. I was asked to develop a 2-day training workshop based on those slides.
This coming Thursday and Friday, two subject matter experts will facilitate the 2-day technical skills training workshop that I developed. How many slides will they click through?
Once I had an opportunity to sit down and talk with several subject matter experts to better understand what trainees should be able to do new or differently or better as a result of this training, I realized that PowerPoint slides would be the least effective visual aids possible. The slides have been replaced by a series of individual, small group and large group activities, live demonstrations and discussions.
To be fair, there was one slide that was still hanging on in the almost-final version of the training program. It just seemed like too much work to fire up an LCD projector for a single slide. That slide was replaced with an activity in which the facilitator would illustrate her points using a flipchart. According to several recent studies, illustrating your points with a whiteboard or a flipchart is a more effective teaching strategy than even the most visually appealing slide, anyway.
I’m not saying that PowerPoint should never be used. I am saying that it doesn’t have to be the default visual aid for every aspect of every presentation.