Make Your Presentations Informational (And Visually Appealing)

Being born in the 80’s, I have experienced many different teaching styles throughout my educational career.  Elementary school showcased the old-school way of education, with my teachers writing notes up on the chalkboard or whiteboard.  High school brought with it the use of overhead projectors and the power point presentations.  College had a distinct combination of teaching styles, depending on the professor.  Some would just stand there and talk at you, which I distinctly hated, while others put together presentations with graphics and video.  I found these instructors much more effective, and I have tried to take a queue from them in my own lessons.

When reviewing 11 different studies, Clark and Mayer (2008) found that “students who received a multimedia lesson consisting of words and pictures performed better on a subsequent transfer test than students who received the same information in words alone”(p.66).  The choice of image is also important.  Decorative images only really add decoration to your presentation, without adding much information.  I do use these to catch the attention of my students, but I try not to saturate the presentation with decorative graphics. Representational, organizational, relational, transformational, and interpretive graphics serve much more of an informational purpose, and each of my slides will have one of these.  Overall, I try to make my presentations visually appealing, utilizing the premade PowerPoint themes that match colors, fonts, and backgrounds, and then inserting my own graphics, ensuring that the graphics compliment the text and not detract from it.


Clark, R, & Mayer, R. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction: proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. San Francisco: Pfeiffer & Co.

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