Pilot testing of a new design for presentation slides to teach science and engineering

Michael Alley, Madeline Schreiber, John Muffo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

16 Scopus citations


Pilot testing in a large geology course shows that a new sentence-headline design of presentation slides was more effective than the traditional phrase-headline design at teaching science to undergraduates. Rather than having a phrase headline supported by a bullet list, the new design relies on a succinct sentence headline supported by visual evidence. In the new design, bullets are not used. The testing of the new slide design involved comparing test scores between a prior section that viewed the traditional design and the test scores of a current section that viewed the new design. On 7 of the 20 questions, the section viewing the new design achieved improvements in test scores that were statistically significant at the 99.9% confidence level. On no question did the prior section viewing the traditional design achieve a higher test score that was statistically significant. The mean test scores on the 20 questions were 71% correct for the earlier group (traditional design) and 82% correct for the latter group (new design). In addition to analyzing the test scores, we conducted surveys that indicate the students preferred the new design over the traditional design by a more than 7-to-1 ratio. These test scores and survey results have implications in the way that presentation slides should be designed not only for science and engineering classrooms, but also for forums of scientific and engineering research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - Frontiers in Education, 35th Annual Conference
Subtitle of host publicationPedagogies and Technologies for the Emerging Global Economy, FIE'05
StatePublished - 2005
EventFrontiers in Education - 35th Annual Conference 2005, FIE' 05 - Indianapolis, IN, United States
Duration: Oct 19 2005Oct 22 2005

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


OtherFrontiers in Education - 35th Annual Conference 2005, FIE' 05
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityIndianapolis, IN

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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