Animated PowerPoint presentations negatively impact lecturers’ messages

June 12th, 2009 - 4:32 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 12 (ANI): While instructors these days are increasingly tanking to animated PowerPoint slides to make their lectures interesting and enhance student learning, a new study suggests that such presentations do have a dark side that impacts negatively on the message being presented.

Stephen Mahar, of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, recorded two versions of a PowerPoint lecture. The presentations differed only in the presence of animation to incrementally present information.

He and his colleagues then showed students either the animated or non-animated lecture, and then tested the students’ recall and comprehension of the lecture.

The researchers found a marked difference in average student performance, with those seeing the non-animated lecture performing much better in the tests than those who watched the animated lecture.

They said that the students were able to recall details of the static graphics much better.

According to them, animated slides meant to present information incrementally actually require greater concentration, which makes it harder to remember content as well as reducing overall exposure time to the “complete” slide.

The team said that though the students appeared to like the use of animations in lectures delivered using PowerPoint, they had found strong evidence that animation is nothing more than an entertaining distraction.

The team points out that their study was applied only to the teaching of new concepts.

It is possible that teaching a technique might work more effectively with animated, rather than static, slides-something they plan to investigate in their future studies. (ANI)

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