Master Your Message Blog

How the Way We Learn Affects Your Presentation

If you want to be effective in the use of media in your presentations, it’s important to understand how it relates to learning. So today, I’m going to give you some basic rules for being more effective.

Richard Mayer, guru of learning with multimedia in presentations

Prof. Richard Mayer

These rules come from the work of educational psychologist, Richard Mayer, in his book, “Multimedia Learning.”

Rule Number One:

We learn better with words and pictures than with words alone. Using hearing and vision to transfer information results in much better recall that lasts much longer … often years longer.

 Number Two:

We learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented at the same time or next to each other on the same screen.

And three … we are attracted by movement. Animation with narration is the most powerful means of transferring information. Demonstrating something on the screen while you explain it aloud is an extremely powerful learning experience.

 Which brings up my final point …

We learn better when interesting but unneeded material is left out.

Tests prove that information that doesn’t support your key point reduces your presentation’s effectiveness.  It creates processing overload. Less is more!

This is a case FOR visual support but AGAINST text. Pictures rule!

Learning and recall: The key to most presentations that aim to leave the audience enriched. So … focus on Mayer’s principles and you’ll have a far more powerful presentation. Better learning; better and longer retention.

Comments for this Post

  • Nat Cramer November 19, 2011, 1:20 pm

    Another great way to communicate effectively is by adding video to your online presentations.

    Knovio – just released publicly this week – makes it incredibly easy for anyone to create, edit, and share online video presentations in minutes. Here’s a link to the press release:

    It’s free to use – all you need is a PowerPoint deck, webcam, and Internet.
    Check it out at

    I hope you’ll give Knovio a spin, and share your impressions.



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