Every so often his eyelids would crack open, then collapse under the weight of pure exhaustion. And, despite two cups of coffee, he was desperately fighting through the morning haze. We were together in a two-week training course, but chances were we wouldn’t make it through.
Sitting in the back row, I was somewhat empathetic to his struggle, yet more concerned about my own livelihood. We’d just endured two days of slide presentations, and the mind-numbing effects were taking their toll. It was purely death by PowerPoint. And, without intervention, we’d continue suffering from the cruel monotony, detachment, and downright boredom of slide presentations. It was miserable, and we weren’t learning.
No longer focused, but still awake, I wondered how many students had actually survived the fortnight. And whether they’d left with any sort of useful information or knowledge. More so, I questioned how these excruciating slide decks had made their way into training environments, to the point where they’d become the institutionalized, default mode of instruction. From what I understood, PowerPoint was created sometime in the nineties to replace slide projectors in boring business meetings, far removed from classrooms where living ideas and concepts are created, curated and shared.
At any rate, I still can’t explain the cultural prominence of PowerPoint. Perhaps it was a great tool for content management some twenty-odd years ago. But, we’re now in the midst of unprecedented software development. New products are released each day, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to training tools.
Why not incorporate modern technology into our regimen? Why not leverage platforms that allow for real-time collaboration, cloud-based workspaces, and unlimited access to the digital world?
If you’re serious about training and education, embracing today’s technology is indeed the path forward. Work to distance yourself from the status quo. Enable, once again, the human aspect of instruction. Seek to engage, and leverage best in class tools that actually remove the barrier of “technology,” allowing you to weave ideas into the big picture, narrate through your thoughts, and truly resonate with each individual.
It’s up to you, and the rest of our community, to create the best environments for learning. Do we continue to prevent learning? Or, do we aspire to open their eyes and teach again?