In teaching, sometimes 1+1≠2! Here’s why.

3-Star learning experiences

Paul A. Kirschner & Mirjam Neelen

OK, we’re about to begin. I’ve got my slides ready. I’ve made sure that the most important things that I have to say – that is that I feel that my audience should learn – are in the presentation. Interesting headings, bullets with extensive info that they can’t miss, rehearsed that info so that I can be fluent, timed it…what can go wrong? Well, as Robert Burns wrote in his poem ‘To a Mouse’ (1785): The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry![1]

What went wrong? Why didn’t they learn? Now, according to cognitive load theory (CLT; here’s a good blog by Adam Boxer, explaining CLT), people struggle to effectively process your message when you read your slides to them (e.g., via PowerPoint, Prezi, PowToon,…). When we say, ‘read your slides’, we mean when you read them a bulleted list…

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