PowerPoints have been widely used for lectures and presentations, but increasing numbers of students are also beginning to use these PowerPoints as study tools for their next exam. Instructors can implement a few basic techniques to help improve the quality of their PowerPoint presentations or lectures, while transforming them into useful study guides for their students.
- Posting the PowerPoint Online
Teachers often post their class PowerPoint presentations online either before or after the lecture. This allows students to download the documents to take notes on during class or to review after class. Posting the presentation online before class can be an effective study method if some sections are intentionally left blank; students must pay attention in class and take adequate notes to fill in these blanks, which usually contain the most important information of the lecture. In contrast, posting the notes online after class, including all of the key points, can provide a useful review guide for students.
- Including Videos and Links
One of the benefits of PowerPoint presentations is that they can easily incorporate other learning media, such as videos, links to other sites, and interactive programs. While beneficial in class, often times these programs and embedded videos get lost when the PowerPoint notes get posted online, preventing students from reviewing them after class. Instructors can improve this situation by including the actual hyperlinks in the notes and by posting the videos as separate attachments online.
- Designing the Slides to be User-Friendly
Cramming in too much text into a single slide, not including enough relevant pictures and figures, or not including important information in the slides can both harm the presentation itself and the PowerPoint’s effectiveness as a study tool for students. Leaving enough space in the margins will create a more visually appealing presentation, in addition to giving students room to take extra notes. Similarly, including the key points will provide students with a quick, basic review of the main concepts.
PowerPoints are incredibly versatile, and by implementing these three strategies, teachers can improve the quality of their PowerPoints and create more effective study materials for their students.