20 Tips for Improving Educational PowerPoint Presentations

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Take a look at these 20 tips for improving powerpoint presentations:

  1. Clarify for your students whether the PowerPoint is repeating the textbook material or supplementary to the textbook material.
  2. Create an initial slide with an overview of what students can expect to learn in the PowerPoint presentation.
  3. Use concise bullet points instead of long paragraphs of text.
  4. Break up bullet points into separate slides, with images on each slide to represent each point. After you have completed a series of points, include a slide that summarizes all of the points together on one slide.
  5. Incorporate examples to illustrate key concepts. In a classroom lecture, professors naturally incorporate examples to support their points, but in a stand-alone PowerPoint presentation, these examples must be spelled out within the presentation to enhance comprehension of the material.
  6. If you are adapting a PowerPoint from lecture format to online delivery, keep in mind that your presentation must be self-explanatory. Consider adding a voice-over narration or adding a video of yourself superimposed on the presentation.
  7. While key words may be enough for PowerPoints used in lectures, make sure to write only clear full sentences in PowerPoints intended for online delivery.
  8. Design your slides with sharp contrast between the text and the background so that the text is easily readable.
  9. Include relevant graphics to support key concepts. Studies have shown that adding relevant images can greatly enhance learning, but adding decorative graphics that are irrelevant can sometimes depress learning.
  10. Add videos and relevant hyperlinks to your slides.
  11. Incorporate animated text effects to add interest, but don’t go overboard lest it become a distraction.
  12. Use animations to demonstrate a sequence or clarify complex concepts. Keep in mind that animated effects should be purposeful, not just for decoration.
  13. Use pre-made PowerPoint templates to get a jumpstart on good design.
  14. Check out other professors’ educational PowerPoints to get ideas of effective layouts, styles, and content.
  15. Vary text sizes to indicate which pieces of information are most important, and to differentiate between headings, subheadings, and explanations.
  16. Don’t try to squeeze too much text onto one slide.
  17. Keep in mind that students might print out your slides, so make sure they are printer-friendly.
  18. Break up longer PowerPoints into several smaller PowerPoints.
  19. Use pptPlex to add Prezi-like functionality to your slides: zooming in and out of sections.
  20. Add an interactive quiz right inside your PowerPoint to help students process the information they have just learned.

For more information on adapting PowerPoint lectures for online delivery, see Adapting PowerPoint Lectures for Online Delivery on FacultyFocus.com.

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