The effect of PowerPoint on student learning in higher education

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Theeffectof PowerPoint on studentlearningin highereducation

PowerPointis one of themultimedia toolsthat arewidelyusedin theinstitutionsof higherlearningwith theobjectiveof enhancingtheprocessof learning.PowerPoint isusedin collegesandUniversities as graphicpackagethat alloweducatorsto producepresentationsthat reflectprofessionalism. Thisis achievedthrough wordprocessing, outlining,drawing,presentationmanagement,andgraphing. Althoughmuchhas beendoneto determinehowthePowerPoint helpseducatorsin enhancingtheprocessof curriculum content, littleis knownabout theeffectof powerpresentationon studentwhoare learningin highereducation(Nouri 53).Thepaper willdiscussthemajoreffectsthatthePowerPoint presentationhas on studentsin theinstitutionsof higherlearning.PowerPoint presentationmotivatesstudentsin highereducationto learn,enhancesthecontent retention,learners`attitudetowards thecourse,andinformationprocessing.

Background

Theuseof PowerPoint presentationsin collegesanduniversitiesbeganin the1980s (Erdemir 178). ThePowerPoint applicationwasdevelopedby Robert Gaskins, a Berkeley Ph. D studentin 1984 (Farshid 1). ThisapplicationwasinitiallydevelopedforMacintosh computersownedby theApple Incorporation before itwasboughtby Microsoft Corporation.Thefirstversionwasnamed“Presenter”, butthenamedwaschangedto “PowerPoint” in theyear1987 followingthetrademarkissues(Farshid 1). ThePowerPoint applicationhas undergonesignificantchangesthat are intendedto increaseits effectiveness. Initialversionsallowedtheusers to applygraphics andanimations in their presentations.Thenewversionsallowusers to embedvideos in their presentationandhighlight themainpointsinsteadof thepresenter havingto readall thepoints.Currently, PowerPoint is themostwidelyusedsoftware orapplicationin theworld.Educatorshavecontinuallyappreciatedthesignificanceof thePowerPoint applicationin deliveringthecoursecontent in summaryform.PowerPointpresentationandstudents’motivationto learn

PowerPointpresentationandinformationprocessing capacity

PowerPointfacilitatestheincorporationof animation, graphics, andcolorthat enhancesthelearners`informationprocessing. Based on thetheoriesof informationprocessingthecombinationof verbalandvisual(wordsandgraphic)featuresin a presentationenhancesthestudents’capacityto processtheinformationthat is beingpresented.Thedualcoding theoryholdsthathumancognitionis specializedanddesignedto dealwith non-verbal objects,language,andeventssimultaneously(Nouri 53). Apresentationthat useslanguageandobjectsis moreeffectivebecausehumanbeingshavetwo subsystems (representational andlanguagesubsystems) thatfunctionsimultaneously.Therepresentational subsystem enhancestheshort-term memorywhilereferential levels that combinenon-verbal andverbalcommunicationelicit long-term memory.Theinclusionof graphsin thePowerPoint presentationarousestheimagerysystemof thelearner,which isfurtherenhancedwhentheinformationis presentedto studentsin non-verbal forms.Therefore,thePowerPoint presentationimprovesthestudents’comprehensionas wellas their long-term andshort-term memories.

PowerPointandcontent retentioncapacity

ThePowerPoint presentationalsoimprovestheinformationretentioncapacityof learners.Retentionismainlyenhancedby two featuresof thePowerPoint presentation.First,thePowerPoint presentationusesthewords-with-pictures stylecomparedto othermethodsof teachingthatpresentpictureseitherbefore orafter words.Thereferential connectionthat existsbetween verbalrepresentationandimageryin a word-with-picture presentationis responsibleforimprovedretentionof thecurriculum content (Susskind 1230). ThePowerPoint packageallowstheeducatorsto usedifferentcolorsin their presentation,which improvesnot only the appearance of the content,butalsotheretentioncapacityof thetargeted learners.Studieshaveshownthatcoloris a stimulusandone of thecomponentsthat formthememoryrepresentation(Nouri 56). Theuseof colorin thePowerPoint presentationsenhancesretentionbecausestudentstendto paymoreattentionwhencoloris centralto theconceptsandideasthat are beingpresented.

PowerPointpresentationandstudents`attitude

PowerPointpresentation,comparedto theconventionalpresentation,enhancesthelearners’attitudetowards thecourseandtheinstructor.ThePowerPoint presentationis a technology-based learningtoolthat fascinatesstudentsin thehigherlearninginstitutions,wherethemajorityof them are young.Theyouthsareconsideredto theearlyadopters of technology andpresentingthecoursecontent via themultimedia (suchas thePowerPoint) makesthestudentsperceivethatthelearningprocessandtheir instructorare relevantandconversant with thetechnological trends(Susskind 1230).In addition,studentsfindthecomputer-mediated (PowerPoint) lecturesto be moreorganizedcomparedto traditionalpresentations.Thisenhancesthelearners’perceptionofthecourseandtheeducator.Moreover,thePowerPoint presentationemphasizeson themainpoints,which reducesthelearners’workloads andtheneedto revisevoluminousnotes.Astudyhas confirmedthatPowerPoint presentationcan helpstudentswhofinda givencourseto be boringfinditinterestingsince thePowerPoint has someelementsof entertainment(Nouri 58). In essence,thePowerPoint presentationis interestingandentertainingcomparedto conventionalmethodsusedin presentingthecoursecontent to studentsin highereducation.

PowerPointpresentationandlearners’self-efficacy

Theuseof thePowerPoint presentationin teachingenhancesthelearners’beliefin their ownabilitiesto handleandsucceedin their education.ManystudentsclaimthatPowerPoint presentationmakesthelectureseasyto attendandunderstand(Susskind 1229). Thishelpsthestudentacquirethecourageto addressthedifficultcoursessince theybelievethatthemannerin which suchcoursesarepresentedin PowerPoint will helpthem understandthelecturesbetter.In addition,studentsbelievethatlecturenotesthat arepresentedin PowerPoint are wellorganizedandeasyto usewhenpreparingforexams. TheperceptionthatthePowerPoint presentationcan helpa studentcomprehendthelecturesandperformbetterin exams enhancesthelearners’self-efficacy. However,thecapacityof thePowerPoint presentationto enhancetheself-efficacy of learnersdepends on thefeaturesthattheeducatorsuseto preparethePowerPoint. Astudyhas identifiedthatthereductionof somefeaturesof thePowerPoint ispositivelyrelatedto a declinein learners’motivation(Susskind 1229). Thisimpliesthatthatcompetenceof theinstructorin utilizingthefeaturesof thePowerPoint is a keydeterminant of theeffectiveness of lecturepresentations.Studentsfeelmoremotivated to attendlecturesin which thePowerPoint presentationis employedcomparedto thelecturesthat utilizeconventionalteachingformatsbecausetheybelievethatsuchlectureswill eventuallyhelpthem achievetheir academicgoals.

Limitationsof PowerPoint presentation

PowerPointandover-simplification of ideas

AlthoughmanystudentspreferPowerPoint lecturesto lecturesthat are deliveredusingtraditionalmethodsbecausePowerPoint reducestheworkloads, PowerPoint are presentcomplexideasis oversimplifiedformats.Therigidstructureof PowerPoint forcestheeducatorto compressthelecturenotes,which createsthepossibilityof eliminatingrelevantideasorsupportideasthat would havehelpedthelearnersin understandingthecomplexideas(Gallagher 1).In addition,thesimplicitywith which thelectureispresentedin PowerPoint inhibitstheinteractionbetween thelecturerandthestudents.Thisis becausethesequentialpresentationof notesreducesflexibilityandproductivedegeneration, which in turnreducechancesforextendeddiscussionto takeplace.Theinhibitionof theeducator-learner interactionandextendeddiscussiondeniesstudentsan opportunityto enhancetheir creativity andproblem-solving skills.Moreover,thePowerPoint presentationis teacher-centered since thePowerPoint presentationis preparedin advanceby thelecturer,unlike thetraditionalpresentationthat can changedimension during theclassroom sessiondepending on thelearningneedsof thestudents(Gallagher 1).Thisimpliesthateducatorsshould considera widerangeof factors(suchas thecomplexity of thecoursecontent andpotentialimpactof a presentationon their interactionwith learners)before decidingto usethePowerPoint presentation.

PowerPointpresentationandlearnersinactivity

Thepowerpresentation,unlike thetraditionalmethodsof teaching,doesnot encouragestudentsto takenotesduring thepresentation.Learnersareexpectedto payattention and listencarefullyto thepresentationandfollowthesessionas theinstructormovesslide to thenextone (Nouri 105). Thecontinuationsof a patternthat encouragestudentsto remaininactivethroughout thesemesterresultin a learningenvironmentthat producespassivestudents.Thetendencyto remainpassivemay be transferredto theworkplace after graduating,which limitsthecapacityof thegraduatesto embraceteamworkin their futureworkplaces. AlthoughPowerPoint seemsto catchtheattentionof studentsin theearlypartof thesemester,presentationsbecomemonotonouswith time.Thismakesthelecturesboringandlearnersdedicationto learningmay reducetowards theendof thesemester,especiallywhentheyperceivethatlecturesare nolongerentertainingandinteresting.However,studiesshowthatinstructorswhoprovidenotesbefore thePowerPoint presentationmakesthestudentsbelievethatthelectureris wellprepared,understandable,andeffective(Nouri 105). In essence,lecturersshould keepon changingthemethodsof makingthePowerPoint presentationin orderto reducetheir monotonyandretainthelearners’attentionthroughout thesemester.

Conclusion

ThePowerPoint is an effectiveapplicationmotivatesstudentsto learn,helplearnersretainthecontent theygetinthe class,informationprocessing,andimprovethelearners’attitudetowards theteachersandthecourse.ThePowerPoint is a multimedia toolthat iswidelyusedin theinstitutionsof higherlearning.Theeffectiveness of PowerPoint isderivedfrom thefactthatitallowstheusers to integrategraphics, embed videos, andanimations in their presentations.Thesefeaturesmakepresentationsappealing andentertaining,which in turnmotivatestudentsin thehigherinstitutionsof learning.AlthoughPowerPoint has beenshownto be effective,its applicationin collegesanduniversitiesis limitedby perceptionhelpby someeducatorsthatitreducestheinteractionbetween learnersandtheeducators.Althoughtheseclaimsmay be true,theeffectiveness of thePowerPoint presentationis determinedby manyfactors.Forexample,theabilityof thelecturerto utilizeallavailablefeaturesaddressthenegativeissuesassociatedwith theuseof PowerPoint. In addition,theboredomassociatedwith continuoususeof thePowerPoint presentationfora longtimecan be addressedby issuingnotesto studentsshortlybefore theclassin orderto enhancetheir understanding.

Workscited

Erdemir,N. “The effect of PowerPoint and traditional lectures on students’achievement in physics”. TurkishScience Education8.3 (2011): 176-189.

Farshid,T. Historyof PowerPoint: The amazing facts you did not know.Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2014.

Gallagher,V. and Reder, M. “PowerPoint: Possibilities and problems”.Towardsthe Best in Academic16.3 (2005): 1-13.

Nouri,H. and Shahid, A. “The effect of PowerPoint presentation on studentlearning and attitude”. GlobalPerspective on Accounting Education2 (2005): 53-73.

Susskind,E. “Limits of PowerPoint’s power: Enhancing students’self-efficacy and attitudes but not their behavior” ComputerScience50 (2008): 1228-1239.