Powerpoint for interactive learning


I'm currently working on a branching scenario dental trauma tutorial; students are given a situation and have to choose response A,B or C (actually usually just A or B). Each choice takes them down a slightly different path, the paths diverging through 3 steps. That's a lot of divergence. Designing this in html or flash or some other media would be pretty tricky and time consuming. Fortunately, powerpoint is pretty much perfect for it. 

The slideshow software allows linking between slides using hyperlinks which means that the tutorial is relatively easy to set up. Also, the 4×3 slide inhibits adding lots of text which has to be a good thing. You can even if you like incorporate animations and audio (though it would be better to use camtasia or some other screen capture software for your voice overs, powerpoint's native audio is usually a muffled, crackling mess. Finally, using the slide outline pane on the left of the powerpoint window allows you to easily see the content of each slide and arrange them to better represent the flow of your tutorial. 

Powerpoint has got a bad reputation as the medium for long dull expositions, but needn't be so at all. Indeed, Tom Kuhlmann at the Rapid eLearning blog (sponsored by Articulate) has built a career out of showing all kinds of ways powerpoint can be used to rapidly create dynamic, engaging materials. Mostly his market is corporate training, nevertheless there are many contexts in HE in which his approach will work. 

Here's his post on Powerpoint for eLearning: http://www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/powerpoint-for-e-learning/



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