The use of the PowerPoint presentation has been a disaster. It should be ditched. ... It is effective to speak to a diagram, because it 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.
Professor John Sweller
Powerpoint is dead. Or it should be. Research by the University of NSW explains why.
Ever wondered why your eyes start glazing over as you read those bullet points on-screen while the same words are being spoken?
It is more difficult to process information if it is coming at you in the written and spoken form at the same time.
The research shows the human brain processes and retains more information if it is digested in either its verbal or written form, but not both at the same time.
It also questions the wisdom of centuries-old habits, such as reading along with Bible passages, at the same time they are being read aloud in church. More of the passages would be understood and retained, the researchers suggest, if heard or read separately.
It is effective to speak to a diagram or an image because they present 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.
The working memory is effective in juggling two or three tasks at the same time, retaining them for a few seconds. When too many mental tasks were taken on some things are forgotten.
According to John Oates, Professor John Sweller is not the first to question the overarching power of Powerpoint. Edward Tufte is a professor emeritus at Yale and an information and interface design expert. His 2003 book The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within makes similar claims.
How does this work in practice?
Read this post from PresentationZen: Gates, Jobs, & the Zen aesthetic and compare Simple Steve with Complicated Bill.