The Value of PowerPoint

This month’s Big Question over at the Learning Circuits blog is about the appropriate use of PowerPoint. My first thought was “Oh, great. More PowerPoint discussion. Isn’t there something more exciting to talk about?” But then ALT-Tabbed over to PowerPoint and continued my course development work. So I guess the appropriate use of PowerPoint is still one of the most relevant discussions we can have. Everyone uses it, and there are dozens of tools out there to convert PowerPoint to eLearning, so why not discuss what is probably the most ubiquitous training tool around?

I’ve read several of the responses to the question, many of which are very good and insightful, but my favorite to date is from Wendy Wickham on her blog. I won’t quote her, but her post is short and to the point. There are several other post that basically say it’s just a tool and is not inherently evil, people just use it in evil ways. I have to agree with that sentiment.

For me, PowerPoint is a great organizational tool. I use it to organize ideas and generate outlines, especially for instructor-led courses. But the real benefit to my organization is that it helps trainers stay focused and organized. We have a dozen or so trainers who deliver classroom training using the same set of presentations. The PowerPoint helps ensure that all trainers cover the same points, stay on track, and don’t make things up as they go. PowerPoint is basically the lesson plan. I’m sure they don’t all stick to it in every class, but at least they know what they are supposed to cover and it provides a baseline.

Bottom line, it helps me be organized and serves and a guide for trainers.

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