Streamlining & Enhancing Education Materials
by Kiril Tasseff
Since most of us in the medical education ecosystem are frequently presenting (lectures, conferences, faculty meetings, assignments, projects etc) I was keen to share some of the best practice hints and tips we have acquired over the years which will save you time, make your presentations stand out and help reach your audience.
This brief guide can be applied irrespective of the software used (PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Slides etc). We use PowerPoint and if you want to learn more, download our free PowerPoint For Medical Education guide.
Storytelling: Every presentation should follow a logical order, transitioning the user from one stage to the next naturally, drawing them deeper in your content.
Font: For large screens (lecture theatre), use fonts size 20 or above and ensure Headings are at least 2pts larger than the body. For reading materials, you can use fonts around 14pts.
Colours: Predominantly you should use smooth and light greens, blues, purples to instil calmness and encourage productivity in your audience. Break up the monotony every 3 to 4 slides by featuring an Orange (or similar) colour which tends to energise audiences.
Visuals: Use these to illustrate complex and key points and accompany the visuals with text/bullet points to emphasise the key messages. If you want to go beyond free resources and use advanced graphical assets, we recommend Envato Elements, they have a huge library of professional content.
Air: For large screen presentations, a minimum of 50% of your slide should be free of text and visuals (images, graphs, icons etc). For reading materials you should keep 30% free.
To illustrate the key messages, we are conveying with this guide, we put together a template (with free resources only) which you can download as part of our free PowerPoint For Medical Education guide and use for your own purposes.
MORE ON FONTS
Broadly speaking there are two types of fonts, Serif fonts (letters have decorative strokes - like Times New Roman) and Sans Serif fonts (letters don’t have decorative strokes –Arial). All major Serif & Sans Serif fonts are equally good and legible for education purposes. We favour Sans Serif fonts for their clean & simple style and our go to fonts are Google’s Roboto font family (download here).
MORE ON COLOURS
A vast amount of research supports the premise that colour plays an important part in attracting and keeping attention and enhancing memory performance. When discussing the colour schemes most suitable for education, clear favourites emerge across the board. The consensus is that Greens, Blues and Oranges are all appropriate for educational materials. There are several free online tools which you can use to generate your own colour schemes. We recommend ColorSpace, its free and very easy to use.
MORE ON IMAGES & ICONS
The right visuals can help deliver your point and illustrate key content for the user, therefore significantly enhancing your presentation materials Luckily, today it is very easy to access thousands of royalty free images and icons online. For icons, your default should be PowerPoint itself, the latest versions have an immensely rich library (see here for help). Our favourite source of royalty free images is Unsplash.