E-learning designers are routinely challenged to distill, organize, and present vast amounts of information in a way that makes learning more efficient, effective, and appealing. One common misstep is to overwhelm the audience by presenting too much information at once. Striking the right balance between complete information and too much information requires keen professional judgment. Check out these 5 key strategies for streamlining your slides.
One Idea per Slide
People can only absorb a small amount of information at one time. If you include only one idea per slide, you will help reduce the amount of mental processing required by your learners, and tilt the odds of them remembering it in your favor. Besides, it doesn’t cost anything to add more slides ... and slide count means nothing to an e-learner.
Replace Paragraphs with Bullets
Remember, slides aren’t documents. If you find yourself dealing with any slides that have multiple paragraphs of text, consider condensing them into short bullet points that only include the key words. While bullet points take a lot of criticism, they can be an effective way to organize information. A few well-crafted bullet points are a lot easier to digest then a screen crammed full of text.
Replace Text with Narration
If your audience has audio capability you can reduce, or sometimes even eliminate, the text on your slides. This is a particularly good idea if you are also showing any kind of complex graphics, since it is physically impossible to read text and look at graphics at the same time.
Replace Text with Visuals
A picture really is worth a thousand words. Numerous experiments have shown that concepts are much more memorable when they are presented as pictures instead of as words. In short, never send words to do the job that an appropriate image can do better.
Replace Numbers with a Chart
Dense tables of numbers are almost always difficult to interpret. Typically, it isn’t the actual numbers that matter, but rather the story they tell. Depending on what you want to call out from the data, a chart can be a much more effective way to focus your audience on what you want them to know.
Remember, if you or any of your project’s stakeholders balks at eliminating the numbers and text, you can always move them down into the notes area and make them available on demand. That way you can get the best of both worlds: clean, effective slides and all the nitty-gritty details for anyone who really wants them.
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