PowerPoint has been used for years to enhance presentations and courses. Educators often use it to create a logical flow, stay on track and provide visuals that reinforce topics. Research shows that learners prefer slides with visuals to clarify information and bulleted lists to organize ideas.
While PowerPoint is a versatile tool that can greatly enhance a course, it can also detract from the course if it is done poorly. These six tips are recommended by the professionals for creating effective slides:
1. Keep it simple.
This is the top recommendation among professionals. Simple slides containing just a few words and impactful images are far more effective than busy or overcrowded slides. Aim for just a few bullets with short sentence fragments that summarize your point.
2. Write your lesson plan first.
Having an outline which includes every topic, activity and timing for each class in an organized format (lesson plan) is essential for any class. Follow the lesson plans as you create the PowerPoint to ensure the content and order match. Have a PowerPoint section for each main topic or class. As you create each slide, consider its intended purpose, then add content to your slides that helps you achieve this goal.
3. Your delivery matters.
PowerPoints are meaningless without a great educator narrating and engaging with the audience. This means that parents should NOT understand the topic completely from your PowerPoint slide alone. They will need more information, which you provide in other interactive ways (discussion, activities, physical props, etc).
4. Use effects sparingly.
Animations, slide transitions and other effects should be used infrequently and intentionally, such as to draw attention to important information or highlight a point. A good rule of thumb is to only include such effects every 10 slides, if at all, because they can be distracting and get repetitive and boring.
Do not use pixelated or low quality images you found online (especially if you do not have permission from the copyright owner). Invest in recent, high quality photographs and images that are appealing and look professional.
6. Have a quality design.
Create a design or theme for the entire presentation with pleasing colors and consistent layouts and fonts. Use only 2-3 colors throughout the presentation. Keep font sizes at 22 points or greater. Make sure the font color contrasts with the background color and is easy to read.
PowerPoints can be a fun and engaging tool for your childbirth courses if done well. Follow these tips and you will avoid getting on the list of the "World's Worst PowerPoint Presentations" and instead have versatile tool that can be used over and over.
If you are looking for a quick way to get started using PowerPoint, check out our Thoughtful Childbirth PowerPoint series. It is available with or without custom branding with your logo. There are three titles to choose from that correspond to our parent books and Childbirth Curriculum. It is available for instant download and can save you lots of time and energy.
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