Presentation Design

When designing presentations, it’s important to keep effective design elements, active learning practices and theory about slideware and memory in mind. Review the below general practice suggestions, or consult the LinkedIn Learning course “Redefining PowerPoint in the College Classroom.”

Use a Simple and Professional Theme 

  • Avoid themes with busy designs or complex colour combinations.
  • Limit aesthetic elements which will interrupt the text or visuals. 

Use Colour Strategically 

  • Use high contrast colour combinations – black and white is ideal.
  • Colour use should make content stand out. 
  • Avoid red/green or blue/yellow colour coding, instead use blue/orange which can be perceived by most people.

Write Concisely  

  • Condense text enough that students can use slides as a review tool, without oversimplifying. 
  • Write explicitly when clear instructions are needed, and this would prevent confusion or asking similar questions.
  • Use bulleted lists only where appropriate to chunk or organize information .
  • Hyperlink out to further reading or resources online. 

Use Visual Content 

  • Use affective impact – try images that evoke an emotional or social response.
  • Leverage annotation tools that let you draw on top of your presentation.
  • Bring in graphic organizers that structure thinking.
  • Present images with large, clear resolution.

Bring in Variety 

phet simulations logo
University of Colorado, Boulder has simulations of math and science concepts intended for post-secondary teaching
  • In the material presented – try videos, images, or simulators
  • In the activities presented – try discussions, practice exercises, games, interactive surveys. 
  • In the method of presentation – try stations, video lessons or interactive activities

Support Effective Studying 

  • Post course content online  at least a week prior to class.
  • Replicate little to no information from the textbook.  Instead, refer to it in class, asking students to take it out, and refer to a page.
  • Allow space for students to add their own notes, or give them a format that supports them adding notes.

Cite and Reference 

  • Use APA @ Conestoga as a guideline – adapt the style to your discipline or program. 
  • Include a References slide at the end of the presentation. 

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