Virtual Presentation

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1 Virtual presentation

Chelsea Whitehead, Memorial University of Newfoundland

2 Definitions and background

Virtual presentation software (VPS) such as Microsoft PowerPoint, was originally designed in an effort to organize content and structure lessons as a means to avoid “rambling” (Savasci Acikalin, 2011, p. 340). Often used to share information seamlessly from a computer to a larger screen, VPS has begun to transform the ways in which material is presented by moving away from chalkboards, whiteboards, and overhead projectors (Bartsch & Cobern, 2003). VPS has evolved beyond a way to simply showcase pertinent text, now permitting users to integrate audio, video, illustrations, and animated graphics alongside text to enrich the learning experience (Tangen et al., 2011). VPS is also aligned with the constructivist approach to learning, naturally tapping into different learning styles by disseminating a range of material in numerous ways (Siegle & Foster, 2001).

Given its adoption as a staple for presenters across a range of industries, including the education and business sectors, it is likely that students will one day require the skills to effectively deliver a multimedia presentation in their careers (Christie & Collyer, 2005). Examples of VPS used by educators include Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, and OpenOffice (Tangen et al., 2011).

3 Affordances

VPS enables users to do many things that traditional presentation formats do not (Siegle & Foster, 2001). Technological advancements enable educators to create “rich computer-mediated” lessons (Lai, 2000, p. 200). These lessons effectively feature dynamic sounds, visuals, and text together to successfully communicate complex ideas such as abstract concepts (Lai, 2000). Dringus, Snyder, and Terrell (2010) further observed that incorporating audio statements into virtual presentations (VPs) supported learning by helping to clarify information and improve connectivity between parties at a distance. Lai, Tsai, and Yu (2011) also recognized that VPS allows educators to create two-layer presentations whereby parts of the screen are hidden from the students, yet visible to the instructor. This feature benefits presenters by enabling them to refer to their notes without overwhelming their students with information (Lai et al., 2011).

Siegle and Foster (2001) identified multimedia-based presentation software as a “strong learning tool for educators” that can differentiate learning (p. 35). Broek, Segers, and Verhoeven (2014) further support this argument, observing that VPS can be set up to allow students to learn at their own pace. Kablan and Erden (2008) also determined that VPS’ ability to present graphics and text together, as opposed to on separate slides, lessened the cognitive load on students. When seventh grade students viewed slides with text and graphics together, they invested significantly less mental effort, learned more efficiently, and demonstrated higher performance when tested (Kablan & Erden, 2008).

Yang, Chang, Chien, Chien, and Tseng (2013) further examined how to successfully implement VPS into a real classroom. Although there is research claiming that the concurrent use of animation, narration, and on-screen text in VPs is redundant, Samur (2012) concluded that this repetition actually has a positive effect on foreign language learners. In a study of non-Turkish speaking student’s, Samur found that adding on-screen text to animated slides with narration led students to remember significantly more vocabulary words than their counterparts. Similarly, Yang et al., (2013) posited that added narration likely helps learners to activate prior knowledge and locate key text.

Bartsch and Cobern (2003) also investigated the amount of time and effort needed to create a VP, concluding that VPs do not take any more time than traditional presentation formats. Lai et al. (2011) further identified VPS as a time-saving measure, explaining that VPs can be created beforehand, reused often, adjusted as necessary, and stored electronically. Lai et al. also observed that VPs allow presenters to face the audience, helping them to establish and maintain student attention for sustained periods of time.

4 Constraints

Apperson, Laws, and Scepansky (2006) conclude that VPS may not be the “magic bullet” it was previously thought to be (p. 125). According to Wecker (2012), slide presentations can negatively effect the student’s ability to retain verbal information. When information was presented to university freshmen on regular slides, Wecker observed a “speech suppression effect,” or a difficulty for students to recall the information presented orally (p. 270). In addition, Bartsch and Cobern (2003) found that the inclusion of irrelevant graphics on slide presentations caused confusion and led to distraction, negatively impacting student learning and enjoyment. As a result, Tangen et al., (2011) argued that educators must carefully select relevant images that support the on-screen text to increase student accuracy and performance.

Creating presentations with continuous- animation presents another challenge (Ali, 2010). Education students taught material in a teacher-controlled, segmented- animation mode outperformed their peers who received the same information through a continuous-animation mode (Ali, 2010). Ali (2010) concluded that presenting the material at a predetermined pace restricted the student’s ability to identify key information and construct meaningful mental models. ChanLin’s (1999) study of middle school students supports these findings and further concludes that learner- controlled animation is most beneficial to those students who actively approach learning.

Savasci Acikalin (2011) found that VPS can give students a false sense of security. A study of Turkish pre-service teachers determined that PowerPoint presentation handouts may mislead students into believing that the handouts alone are sufficient in preparing for exams (Savasci Acikalin, 2011). Likewise, the final grades of American university students, who believed studying PowerPoint handouts would help them succeed academically, revealed no significant differences when compared to those who were taught without the use of PowerPoint (Apperson et al., 2006).

Christie and Collyer (2005) further caution presenters that pre-planned VPs run the risk of being too linear by limiting the presenter’s opportunity to interact with the audience. When interviewed, postgraduate students enrolled in a Science masters degree identified three fundamental elements to a multimedia presentation: “the knowledge content of what is presented; the creativity and imaginativeness with which it is presented; and the fun factor” (Christie & Collyer, 2005, p. 483). In order to engage the audience and achieve “optimal” results, Christie and Collyer argue that presenters must find a balance between these factors (p. 495).

Lastly, Montazemi (2006) argues that the dynamic visuals used to support learning in VPS are costly and must be taken into consideration. To reduce the risk, Montazemi recommends ensuring that the selected software benefits the intended learners prior to its implementation.

5 Links

ICT in the post-primary MFL classroom: Using Presentation Tools

ICT by Teachers: Web 2 Presentation Tools

Presentation tools: Centre for Teaching Excellence

Tips for Effectively Teaching with Your Multimedia Presentation

Classroom Presentation tools: 15 Essential iPad Apps For Teachers

6 Works Cited

Ali, A. Z. M. (2010). Effects of teacher controlled segmented animated presentation in facilitating learning. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 19(4), 367-378. Retrieved from

Apperson, J., Laws, E., & Scepansky, J. (2006). The impact of presentation graphics on students’ experiences in the classroom. Computers & Education, 47(1), 116-126. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2004.09.003

Bartsch, R., & Cobern, K. (2003). Effectiveness of powerpoint presentations in lectures. Computers & Education, 41(1), 77-86. doi:10.1016/S0360-1315(03)00027-7

Broek, G. S. E., Segers, E., & Verhoeven, L. (2014). Effects of text modality in multimedia presentations on written and oral performance. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 30(5), 438-449. doi:10.1111/jcal.12058

ChanLin, L. J. (1999). Visual control for dynamic presentation in multimedia learning. Educational Media International, 36(4), 258-262. doi:10.1080/0952398990360403

Christie, B., & Collyer, J. (2005). Audiences judgements of speakers who use multimedia as a presentation aid: A contribution to training and assessment. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(3), 477-499. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2005.00470.x

Dringus, L., Snyder, M., & Terrell, S. (2010). Facilitating discourse and enhancing teaching presence: Using mini audio presentations in online forums. The Internet and Higher Education, 13(1), 75-77. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2009.11.001

Kablan, Z., & Erden, M. (2008). Instructional efficiency of integrated and separated text with animated presentations in computer-based science instruction. Computers & Education, 51(2), 660-668. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2007.07.002

Lai, S. L. (2000). Influence of audio-visual presentations on learning abstract concepts. International Journal of Instructional Media, 27(2), 199-206. Retrieved from

Lai, Y. S., Tsai, H. H., & Yu, P. T. (2011). Screen-capturing system with two-layer display for powerpoint presentation to enhance classroom education. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 14(3), 69-81. Retrieved from

Montazemi, A. (2006). The effect of video presentation in a CBT environment. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 9(4), 123-138. Retrieved from

Samur, Y. (2012). Redundancy effect on retention of vocabulary words using multimedia presentation. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(6), 166-170. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01320.x

Savasci Acikalin, F. (2011). Why Turkish pre-service teachers prefer to see powerpoint presentations in their classes. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 10(3), 340-347. Retrieved from

Siegle, D., & Foster, T. (2001). Laptop computers and multimedia presentation software: Their affects on student achievement in anatomy and physiology. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 34(1), 29-37. Retrieved from

Tangen, J., Constable, M., Durrant, E., Teeter, C., Beston, B., & Kim, J. (2011). The role of interest and images in slideware presentations. Computers & Education, 56(3), 865-872. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2010.10.028

Wecker, C. (2012). Slide presentations as speech suppressors: When and why learners miss oral information. Computers & Education, 59(2), 260-273. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2012.01.013

Yang, F. Y., Chang, C. Y., Chien, W. R., Chien, Y. T., & Tseng, Y. H. (2013). Tracking learners’ visual attention during a multimedia presentation in a real classroom. Computers & Education, 62, 208-220. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2012.10.009