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Why PowerPoint is losing its power in eLearning

Site Online Learning | March 12, 2020 | Read Time: 5 mins

PowerPoint made its showstopping debut in 1987, changing the way information was delivered in classrooms, lectures, businesses, politics and more (1).  Accommodating both confident public speakers and shy individuals terrified of going up on stage, the software transformed learning and modern communication one slide at a time. But 33 years and who-knows-how-many-updates later, the emergence of other technologies and presentation software faded PowerPoint’s dominance in the spotlight. These new technologies challenge PowerPoint’s lead role with interactive features, analytical capabilities, and cleaner designs that its predecessor’s rather old-school templates can’t hold a candle to.

Is your organisation stuck on creating PowerPoint presentations for your eLearning or sales presentations and want to know how to develop a more engaging experience for your employees and potential business partners? Check out our reasons on why PowerPoint can negatively affect your brand and identify how you can transition to a more modern learning experience.

 

We’re accustomed to more.

Images and bullet points on a slide just won’t cut it – professionals are accustomed to learning experiences that help them grow and perform better. Nowadays, to keep employees engaged a multidimensional strategy that breaks up the content becomes effective. There are different elements that need to be considered before implementing this plan, and it starts with understanding who you are providing training material for. Unsure about where to start? Collaborating with an Instructional Designer can help you configure a learning experience that is applicable and delightful to your employees, but is also cost-effective for the company (2). Have a chat with one of our Instructional Design experts to see how we can help you transition to a more dynamic and seamless eLearning experience.

 

We want to be a part of content-rich collaborations and conversations.

When it comes to internal business discussions, companies like Amazon are moving away from PowerPoint presentations, creating an environment that makes every stakeholder accountable. Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, stated: “We don’t do PowerPoint (or any other slide-oriented) presentations at Amazon. Instead, we write narratively structured six-page memos,” (3). While memorandums have been around longer than the PowerPoint, Amazon’s approach of structuring a business topic into a narrative memo makes the content more tangible and collaborative. This opens up a social dialogue where information is taken in and ideas can be fleshed out regardless of who developed the memo.

When we put this in the context of eLearning, the importance of a social/collaborative element can be just as significant as the content in your Learning Management System (LMS). Creating a platform that enables employees to explore and share resources outside of what is taught can be an optional tool that engages employees throughout their training program. 

 

We’re more aware of our brand’s power.

According to a study made by Harvard University, using PowerPoint can negatively affect how an individual retains information and how they perceive your brand (4).

This can be supported by the fact that:

  • PowerPoint presentations can feel outdated. Its limiting design capabilities can make presentations for clients and training for employees look tired because of old-fashioned templates, tacky and limited font choices. Having a lack of control in exactly how you want your presentation to look can diminish brand consistency and affect how your brand is perceived.
  • Professionals often use PowerPoint like a cue card. When it comes to presentations, PowerPoint slides should only showcase the main idea of your topic so that it allows your viewer to listen and be engaged in what you’re saying (5). On the other hand, using PowerPoint for your eLearning can also translate in providing too little of information, where bullet points barely make a dent on your topic.  

Tip: Explore interactive elements that put theory into practice such as an online quiz or gamified aspect after every module. Don’t have the budget to implement these strategies? Incorporating a strong narrative into your eLearning is a cost-effective technique to bring your learner into the experience.

 

We’ve become more flexible. 

A part of PowerPoint’s charm was it’s ‘one size fits all’ demeanour. And while PowerPoint can be accessed on all devices, a large part of what makes it difficult to use are:

  • It’s large file sizes. Whether you have a 20+ or 100+ slide deck, the use of images, videos, animations and transitions can result in a PowerPoint presentation that is too large to email. This makes it incredibly hard for multiple stakeholders to engage in, especially if the individual being provided with the content doesn’t have access to other platforms such as dropbox etc.
  • It’s specifically designed under one size. Whether it’s the standard (4:3) or widescreen (16:9), it’s difficult to rollout presentations that are compatible for every device. This can make it difficult for employees working in remote locations where they have limited access to view training material.
  • It can look completely different depending on which version of PowerPoint you have. Course creators designing PowerPoints collaboratively can face issues in which elements and fonts aren’t the same and in some cases, aren’t aligned correctly on the slide.

 

In a world that is constantly changing the way it learns and takes in information, it has been a challenge for PowerPoint to keep up with the times. Its linear style in presenting content slide to slide gives it an outdated look and feel that can disengage learners and tarnish a brand’s identity. Are you ready to transition from PowerPoint to a modern learning experience that connects your audience and learners from the outset? Have a chat with us.

 

References

  1. The History of PowerPoint https://buffalo7.co.uk/history-of-powerpoint/
  2. Understanding Instructional Design https://instructionaldesign.com.au/what-is-instructional-design/
  3. Six-page Memo Explains Jeff Bezo’s Plan to End Era of a Microsoft Office Giant https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/19/bezos-adds-microsoft-powerpoint-to-victims-of-amazon-mass-extinction.html
  4. Stop using PowerPoint, Havard University says it's damaging your brand and your company. https://www.forbes.com/sites/paularmstrongtech/2017/07/05/stop-using-powerpoint-harvard-university-says-its-damaging-your-brand-and-your-company/#265ded4f3e65

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