Background: Lectures are the most common education form at medical conferences. For simplicity sake, generally, the lecturer stands in front of a group of learners and disseminates information via the use of slides. Learning theories, such as Mayer’s cognitive theory of multimedia learning, have shown that learners can either process visual or auditory information but not both simultaneously. Additionally, this processing is finite. One of the key lessons in presentation design, from psychological theories of learning, is to replace text with visual representations while the presenter tells a story. This has also been shown to help improve retention of knowledge [2,3]. Most of the studies that show this are supported by medical student classroom learning environments. Little research has been performed in adult learning environments. Read more →
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It is impossible for the audience to read and listen at the same time. A person can task switch, but cannot multitask, therefore if they are reading your slides, they are not listening to you. Vision is one of our most important senses. It is a well-known fact that the a significant portion of our brain is wired for vision, therefore, try to find a single image that encompasses the main message of your slide, then use your actual voice to fill in the blanks. It takes our brains longer to process text-based information than it does visual information.
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If there’s one thing that bothers me most in presentations, it’s this: the insertion of data tables into slides. Often times you’ll see snapshots of random tables taken from an article PDF filled with rows of numbers, p-values, and confidence intervals, occasionally accompanied by the quote, “As you can clearly see from the data.” Read more →