Want to create effective e-learning content? Forget PowerPoint!

If you’ve ever had to sit through a lengthy PowerPoint presentation during a training session or college course, then you’ll probably have no trouble understanding the phrase “death by PowerPoint.”

By Danielle Agass on Nov 26th

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The old, familiar slideshow-style presentation software from Microsoft still has a die-hard following in the learning and development (L&D) world today. In training rooms and e-learning courses throughout the corporate world, learners find themselves flipping through the slides of a PowerPoint presentation.

But, as most of us know from personal experience, PowerPoint presentations are not the most effective form of conveying knowledge. There are many clear reasons for this. Below, we show you some of the main reasons why PowerPoint is not the best solution when it comes to authoring e-learning content.

Reason #1: Content-heavy presentations

PowerPoint presentations are often very heavy on content, which means they are loaded with text. That’s why many of your learners will perceive them as time-consuming, complicated and simply boring. Your learners are far more interested in acquiring information in concise, easy-to-read nuggets.

So, instead of filling text box after text box with content, consider breaking the text down into smaller portions, or use visual alternatives like video, infographics, flowcharts or diagrams. Modern e-learning authoring software provides many engaging options other than text, so you can choose the medium that works best for the information you’re trying to communicate.

Reason #2: Information overload

Have you ever found yourself zoning out halfway through a PowerPoint presentation? Or, even worse, have you ever been giving a PowerPoint presentation and felt like your audience was zoning out? No matter how interesting the topic, it’s still easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of information contained in a PowerPoint presentation.

According to conventional wisdom, each slide of a PowerPoint presentation should cover about two minutes’ worth of information. That means up to 30 slides in the space of a one-hour session. It’s hard enough to keep three or four thoughts clear in your mind at once, let alone 30! So, clearly, PowerPoint risks bombarding learners with mountains of information, with very little chance that they can keep up with it all.

Reason #3: Less is more

As we mentioned above, PowerPoint presentations are generally too long and content-heavy. This is simply out of touch with modern learning preferences. Your learners thrive when they have access to short, easily digestible bits of information.

It’s no wonder that microlearning has become such a major trend in the e-learning world. Microlearning uses new technologies such as mobile learning and quick video tutorials. These media provide content in just the right amounts for your learners to quickly get the specific information they need.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using text in your microlearning or other e-learning content. Just remember to keep texts as short and concise as possible.

Reason #4: No learning checkpoints

To keep your learners on track and ensure they are acquiring the right knowledge, your e-learning content must include performance assessments. PowerPoint, however, is a one-way flow of information. The learner has no opportunity to test their knowledge along the way. That’s why it’s far more important to choose an e-learning authoring tool like Easygenerator, which enables you to include plenty of assessment questions at every stage of the course.

It’s best to use a variety of assessment types because these require the learner to engage with the information on multiple levels. Assessments are not just about making sure your learners acquire knowledge, they also facilitate the learning process by keeping learners alert and making them engage with the content.

Reason #5: Lack of interactivity

One last reason why PowerPoint may leave your learners yawning is that it lacks one ingredient that is crucial to success: interactivity.

Studies show that by enabling your learners to control the pace of the content, provide their feedback and receive personalized feedback themselves, you can boost their perception of how useful the content is. Creating a positive, interactive learning experience leads to better learning outcomes because it automatically makes learners more comfortable with the content itself.

The end of the slideshow?

PowerPoint and other one-way slideshow presentations have been a standard feature in training classrooms around the world for decades. Thanks to newer, more effective methods, the days of PowerPoint are slowly coming to an end in the e-learning world.

If you are in the process of setting up a new e-learning program or modernizing an old one, keep in mind the reasons mentioned above for why PowerPoint probably isn’t the best way to go.

By embracing more modern techniques, such as microlearning and mobile learning, you’ll keep your learners engaged and coming back for more. The same goes for built-in assessments and interactivity features, like instant feedback. These are all the ingredients of a modern, effective e-learning course, all without a PowerPoint presentation in sight.

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About the author

Danielle Agass is the Content Marketing Manager at Easygenerator and has been writing ever since she could pick up a pencil. A Brit by birth, she moved to the Netherlands in 2018 with her husband and their cat, Ron.

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