Can You Really Learn from PowerPoint?

The late advertising executive David Ogilvy once quipped on the subject of PowerPoint, “Most people use PowerPoint like a drunk uses a lamppost; more for support than illumination.” As sobering as that quote may be, PowerPoint remains an industry standard that frequently falls short in employee development and training. PowerPoint has a time and place, but you shouldn’t concentrate its primary function as a self-directed learning tool.

PowerPoint excels at presentations

Almost as key to PowerPoint as the slides themselves, bulleted lists comprise most of the content within many presentations. But a bulleted list can’t effectively define critical relationships to the reader. You further reduce this ability to detail and explain when you throw bullets onto the web for people to read.

The U.S. Military has such a long history of dealing with PowerPoint that Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter banned the program from a military summit because he wanted to promote real discussion.

Even when you use PowerPoint presentations effectively and present them with context, information often becomes diluted and separated from a dynamic message. Franck Frommer wrote that “presentation is legitimization,” saying that just because information is presented on a screen behind a speaker, that information doesn’t always have an assigned author. This discourages audience discussion and engagement in favor of a one-way information feed.

Most people use PowerPoint like a drunk uses a lamppost; more for support than illumination. – David Ogilvy

Learning software excels at educating

We created Lessonly with learning at the forefront. You can build lessons that contain all the necessary context to explain a concept fully. When you separate the slides from explanation and presentation, you lose an entire level of information. Lessonly favors a learner-first approach that caters to the needs of the receiver on a self-directed level. In contrast, PowerPoint gives all the power to the presentation and presenter.

Videos and images within Lessonly lessons create rich and diverse experiences. Media like this helps explain ideas and concepts to self-directed learners without a spoken presentation, and it helps make them stick. Studies show that including videos within a presentation increases engagement at almost every level. In Lessonly, quizzes and short-answer questions provide great ways for leaders to not only promote engagement but measure it well.

Naturally, using a software built for learning will yield better retention results than using PowerPoint.

Anxious to see how Lessonly outperforms PowerPoint in employee learning? Try our 15-day free trial and make as many sharable lessons as you need. Sign up today.

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