Beyond PowerPoint: A Guide to other Visual Teaching Tools
It is no secret that visual teaching tools are important to both audience participation and memory retention. Having visuals makes it all the more likely that the audience will stay engaged and remember the material that you’re teaching them. However, it can be irritating for an audience member to be faced with another white Powerpoint with black text that calls itself a “visual.” Many instructors default to Powerpoint as an easy option for visual communication, but there are a multitude of other options that are more creative and just as simple to use.
Infographics are a great way to convey a concrete set of messages or statistics in an aesthetically pleasing diagram. By using colors and graphics, one can convey a significant amount of concrete, numerical information in a way that is more likely to be remembered by your audience. Data that would otherwise be difficult to retain is more accessible when incorporated into a logical, engaging venue, like an infographic.
Another way to enhance comprehension and retention of relevant date is by using graphs. Some of the most beneficial graphs include pie charts for showing percentages, line graphs for illustrating change over time, and bar graphs to allow for comparison of groups. Choosing the right graph for your purpose and using it in a way that complements the information offered is a good way to make sure that the numbers are going to stick.
Videos are a good supplement to a lecture because they allow the audience to respond to, and engage with, another teacher or authority figure. By detracting attention from yourself, you will reconnect with your audience more effectively when the video is over. Videos also can break up the monotony of a lecture using music or other dramatic effects intended to provoke an emotional response. Good resources for business related videos are TED Talks or other lectures given by business executives, like Steve Jobs.
A simple, fun way to supplement a lecture or written text is with a gif. While often not very informational, they can make a viewer laugh and assist with memory of a slide or idea. Providing a cute gif on a slide or presentation allows the reader to engage more with the content by catching them off guard and absorbing them emotionally.
While not technically a visual aid, another guaranteed way to keep the audience’s attention is by getting them to participate. By offering a game or demonstration as a way of conveying information, you ensure that people will be paying attention. Options for this method include a game of Jeopardy in which competitive juices flow as teams compete, or charades as one person must try to make others understand the nature of a concept. These games can be used to explain ideas, but they can also be used to reinforce elements already described at the end of a lecture or presentation.
If You’re Still Using PowerPoint…
If you really can’t get over your infatuation with Powerpoint, there are a number of other resources for creating visual aids that are just so much cooler than Powerpoint. Prezi is another visual presentation system that allows users to organize their ideas into a moving flowchart that jumps from slide to slide. These come with automatic backgrounds and slide transitions that give a sense of the presentation as a whole and make sure every page is colorful and creative. Sliderocket is another resource that is great for business professionals because it allows for sharing and collaboration. It is accessible via the Internet so you won’t have to email it to get it from person to person. It also features creative, accessible designs and formats that are minimal effort but look awesome.
With all of these other options, it is evident that you never need to settle for Powerpoint again. Don’t make your audience groan as they see another white screen with black text, really take them by surprise with a dazzling array of multimedia mastery using these alternative options.