Less power to the point

Posted by tech master  |  at  8:00 PM No comments

Of course Microsoft and Google rule the world, but little things here and there keep reinforcing the fact. Take this for instance: a not-overlyfamous researcher at the University of New South Wales publishes a not-so- groundbreaking paper on cognition, and it gets heavily publicised. Just because Professor Sweller said,"The use of the PowerPoint presentation has been a disaster. It should be ditched." Note the use of word "PowerPoint"; he didn't use the generic "presentation application." He did what's not done: criticise the use of a Microsoft product.

To begin at the beginning: Prof John Sweller-Who specialises in cognitive research-theorised and discovered that people cannot digest information properly when it comes in two different forms, spoken and written. To quote the professor,"It is effective to speak to a diagram, becauseit presents information in a different form. But it is not effective to speak the same words that are written, because it is putting too much load on the mind and decreases your ability to understand what is being presented."

Come to think of it, why do people present something on a projected screenand reiterate it by saying the same thing? What's the Point (pun very much intented)? It's probably (to the bestof our understanding) what is known in educational circles as pedagogical device that relies on reinforcement. Sweller is now saying that it doesn't work, and that it should be done away with.

It's been done for so long now, preparing neat PowerPoint slides and delivering spiel. Think of that oft-repeated phrase,"I need to deliver this presentation". Nice, bulleted points. Fonts. Heading styles. Borders. Etc. And all for naught? That's exactly what Sweller is saying. Imagine all the (implied) lost productivity; and imagne the idea that there's not much Power in the Point after all.

OK, so this is just one professor's work, but what if the idea were to gain momentum.....would it mean the end of all those fonts and bulleted points? The end of the way execs and their minions do things every boring buisness day?

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