Using Visual Aids: From Chalkboards to Slide Decks

If it were simple

When mechanical pencils, crayons, and composition books start popping up at local stores, back-to-school season is here.  During my own grade school career, multi-media meant chalkboards and paper handouts.  Today, slide decks have replaced chalkboards, and mimeograph ink is a distant memory.

While tools change, the benefits of multi-media learning hold true. These researched-backed, multi-media learning principles can help any audience take in information.

1. The Signaling Principle: Individuals learn better with cues to highlight what’s important.

  • Presentation application: Use Action Titles on your slides to call out the key message.

1st Before and After slide v3


2. The Redundancy Principle: Individuals learn better with pictures and narration than pictures and text.

  • Presentation application: Limit the text on your slides so you can tell the story.

2nd Before and After slide v3


3. The Coherence Principle: Individuals learn better when extra information is excluded.

  • Presentation application: Think about ways to simplify graphs, labels, text and images.

3rd Before and After slide v2

Whatever multi-media tool you use – your audience will best take in your information if you highlight what’s important, limit text, and simplify where you can.

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