The author of Five Steps to Conquer ‘Death by PowerPoint’ is questioning the value of using slideware programs like PowerPoint to transfer research, insight and knowledge in continuing medical education.

“There’s an interesting irony here,” says Eric Bergman. “CME often involves presenting evidence in a knowledge transfer process. When PowerPoint is used, however, the fact is that evidence is being presented via a medium for which there is absolutely no evidence.”

Bergman points out that no peer-review social science studies have been conducted to determine the efficacy of PowerPoint in any setting, let alone CME. Indeed, the research is clearly pointing away from the effectiveness of slide-based approaches.

Professor John Sweller on Presentation Skills
Bergman doesn’t make such statements lightly. The foreword to Five Steps to Conquer ‘Death by PowerPoint’ is written John Sweller, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading experts in cognitive science and how the human mind processes information to learn. Professor Sweller’s research has been cited more than 6,000 times in academic articles and journals. He has graduated more than 40 doctoral students.

“Currently, we use technology such as PowerPoint because we can, not because it results in improvements,” Professor Sweller writes. “I feel the evidence is overwhelming that the way in which we currently organize presentations is ineffective and inappropriate.

“The strong research base that underpins Five Steps to Conquer ‘Death by PowerPoint’ provides reassurance that the recommended techniques have been tested and actually do work in a variety of contexts. Readers should try these recommendations for themselves.

“This well-written, fascinating book provides us with effective presentation techniques, rather than the ineffective ones that have arisen without sufficient thought or consideration of their consequences. Eric Bergman’s techniques are a window to the future of this important human activity.”

Read the foreword by Professor Emeritus John Sweller.

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