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PowerPoint Tips for Virtual Classes January 15, 2007

Posted by Noelle Archambeau in Best Practices, Synchronous Training.
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Before the holidays I gave some tips for creating PowerPoint slides for the virtual classroom to the people who attended the main ASTD-GPC meeting. Most of these tips can also be applied to PowerPoint slides that are created for live, instructor-led classes. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s a summary:

PowerPoint Templates

PowerPoint Template Examples

  • Use light backgrounds with dark text; it’s harder to read light text on dark backgrounds
  • Use a basic layout that gives you a lot of room for your content; don’t waste space with large logos or decorative graphics on every slide

Slide Titles

  • Enter all slide titles in the “Click to add title” field in PowerPoint; many virtual classroom programs use the text that is in this field to create the program map/outline.
  • Give each slide a unique title to help the instructor easily identify it in the program map/outline.  

Slide Text

  • Use sans serif fonts like Arial and Tahoma; these fonts are easier to read than serif fonts like Times New Roman
  • Make your slide titles at least 32 pt and your body text at least 20 pt
  • View your PowerPoint slides at 75% as you develop them to ensure that your text and graphics will be legible once they are imported into the virtual classroom
  • Always run a spelling and grammar check

Content

  • Leave a lot of white space on your slides so the instructor can annotate
  • Aim for no more than six bullets per slide and no more than six words per bullet
  • Bullets points should be highlights, not content, otherwise your participants will read the content and not pay attention to what the instructor is saying
  • Instead of putting bullets on every slide, put questions and exercises on your slides to encourage participation and collaboration

Graphics

  • Use graphics to educate, not decorate
  • Use photos instead of clip art whenever possible

If you have additional tips for creating PowerPoint slides, please post them to the comments section.

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Comments»

1. Nathan - January 16, 2007

Thanks for the quick practical ppt tips! I’m looking for a way to email this post for quick reference on my next training ppt.

2. Noelle Archambeau - January 16, 2007

You’re welcome, Nathan, glad I could help. The easiest way I know of to save a blog post for future reference is to select the text in the post and then copy it into an e-mail or Word doc.

3. Bobbe Baggio - January 16, 2007

Noelle…I think this is a topic that many people could benefit from. Maybe we should suggest this to Alaine for a meeting?

4. Marguerite Fallon - January 18, 2007

I agree. I can always use tips for ppt’s. Best practices for presentations in a web session. I also like the good vs bad example. And it’s a good reminder. I know these things, but forget when I’m doing the creating. Not only do you have to watch out for too much graphics, too much animation is distracting too.

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