Developing Inclusive Learning for student success: student led practice for PowerPoint slides and handouts
Dr Maggie Tarling - School of Health Sciences, City, University of London
Ms Julia Pairman - Learning Enhancement and Development, City, University of London
Ms Sally Thorpe - Learning Enhancement and Development, City, University of London
This evaluation of an inclusive PowerPoint design aims to contribute to developing best practice in the design and use of PowerPoint to enhance student learning across all university disciplines and therefore fits into the sub-theme of supporting student success.
Meeting diverse students’ needs through inclusive learning can aid their success. Increasing numbers of universities are making a commitment to providing an inclusive learning environment. However few adjustments are made to PowerPoint slides to make them more inclusive and accessible to all students, regardless of learning difference. Evidence also suggests that many students do not enjoy this mode of presentation and would rather, ‘do their taxes’, than be exposed to a PowerPoint presentation (Allen, 2011). So a small pilot study was undertaken to evaluate how PowerPoint presentation design could be made more inclusive with a cohort of third year nursing students undertaking the dissertation module.
There are a series of 7 lectures for the module. Using recommendations from Nowak et al (2016) the PowerPoint slides for this module were developed and following the last lecture a short evaluation questionnaire was distributed to the students.
A total of 52 students participated in the questionnaire survey. Though there were three different colour backgrounds used on the PowerPoints, these colours were not clearly seen on the screen. The majority of students found the use of pictures useful. They particularly liked bullet points in a logical order and the use of fewer bullet points and double spacing. All students particularly found having all the PowerPoints available on Moodle before the lectures useful.
The student comments indicated that they found the presentations clear and concise and easy to read and that the lecturer focused on the audience rather than the slides. Having the presentation beforehand was very helpful. Some students felt the use of colour a problem for printing the presentations. Some students wanted more information on the slides and more comprehensive reference lists for later on for further study.
Overall a large majority of students found certain presentation style changes useful, regardless of learning difference. The majority of staff at City University using PowerPoints could easily implement these design changes to make their slides more accessible so these findings are highly relevant to the staff body. The results are also helpful and relevant to the student body as students can be advised how to personalise their handouts and slides, which supports their learning and therefore success.
Teaching and learning practice can be enhanced through these design changes. Although further research is needed regarding the amount of information on slides and how students use these for further study. In addition, there may be work needed to make more explicit links between the different resources available to students to support their learning.
Allen, M. (2011) Death by PowerPoint? SlideRocket saves presentations! [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.sliderocket.com/blog/2011/06/death-by-powerpoint/ [accessed March 2017]
Nowak, Marian K (01.01.2016). "Evaluating PowerPoint Presentations: A Retrospective Study Examining Educational Barriers and Strategies". Nursing education perspectives. 37 (1): 1536 – 5026.