Here's another article on PowerPoint, found via Donald Clark at Big Dog, Little Dog: Bite the Bullet: Improving Your Presentation Strategies.
Some design tidbits:
Another colleague, Cliff Atkinson, who wrote Beyond Bullet Points, suggests taking most of your bullets off the slides entirely. Instead, put them into your Notes. You can use the notes for your own preparation, but by leaving just images on the slides you can deliver a polished talk that has a lot more impact; you won't be reading the
bullets (guaranteed Death by PowerPoint) and neither will the audience (who can
Few stage plays begin with all the actors on stage. For the same reason, you shouldn't project a complicated slide or diagram as one complete unit. BesidesHo hum. This is all basic ID stuff, I suppose.
the actors' egos and their need for an entrance, the fact is that no one can absorb a complex idea all at once. Introducing your important ideas sequentially lets them be absorbed more naturally. You can use the animation features of your presentation program to build your ideas a step at a time. Also, when you show a complex slide, the audience is distracted by trying to figure it out as you discuss it, so give it to them in stages as you talk about each concept.
I also stumbled on this interview by Karl Kapp with Jane Bozarth over at e-Learning guru.com that had some good nuggets on basic instructional design and using low cost tools (like PowerPoint) to build effective e-Learning.
I've always pooh-poohed PowerPoint as an e-Learning tool...but it's all in how you look at, I suppose. And the truth is that so many of these so-called great e-Learning authoring tools out there these days just provide a developer with basic PowerPoint functionality plus a SCORM wrapper. Whoopeee.
But, as Clive says, we shouldn't blame PowerPoint -- nor should we blame all the authoring tools. It's the instructional design you lay on top of these tools that matters...
BTW -- If you haven't already, be sure to check out the demo lite version that's available for Clive Shepherd's course "Ten Ways to Avoid Death by PowerPoint". Excellent use of storytelling to make a point!