A Case Against The Slide Deck – Part Two

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A Case Against The Slide Deck – Part Two

In this series, Simon Roberts, one of our instructors, shares why he does not provide a slide deck to his students. Missed part one? You can find it here.

Slides kill interest levels.

Simon: We’ve been conditioned to think that a good slide deck, one that captures the important points of the class, is the epitome of a well-crafted learning experience. In fact, slides do several things that destroy the learning environment.

The human brain is recalcitrant, carefully honed by millennia for survival. It bores quickly at the predictable because it needs to conserve its energies for dealing with unexpected threats. Slides ensure that nothing unexpected ever happens in the classroom – nothing unexpected ever happens kills interest, making it really hard for the learner to focus.

Brains love unanswered questions and challenges, as well as a good story. Good instructors will use these tools to keep attention levels on alert; however, following a slide deck means everyone already knows the answers and the end of the story.

Slides force the flow of the course.

Simon: This is the biggest reason I’m against using slides. Within reason, allowing the flow to follow the questions of the students increases the likelihood of retaining their attention.

Allowing students to begin discussions, rather than quashing questions with a “We’ll get to that later”, helps encourage the spirit of lively inquiry that makes a class interesting. A skilled instructor should be able to guide the class with subtlety and nudging, occasionally shelving a discussion for later. The instructor should ensure all necessary and relevant topics are addressed, while keeping the distractions at a minimum.

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