Headline news: Research shows that it matters what you write at the top of a slide

Does it really matter what you put at the top of your PowerPoint slides?

Absolutely, according to researcher Michael Alley, who tested two designs for teaching slides on two groups of students Alley_headlines_1— one design with the conventional category heading at the top, and another with a complete sentence headline at the top. The result? A significant improvement in test scores among students who saw the slides with complete sentence headlines.

That’s headline news for those of you using BBP, because the approach requires that you write complete sentences in the story template, which then become the headlines of the frames of your PowerPoint storyboard.

(Read more about Alley’s work here, and read more about how you can start transforming your headings to headlines at a previous post titled Signal to Noise.)

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4 Responses to “Headline news: Research shows that it matters what you write at the top of a slide”

  1. New research about PowerPoint titles

    Cliff Atkinson shares on his Beyond Bullets blog that recent research shows better retention of material when slides are presented with a full sentence as the title rather than a word or short phrase.

  2. Good to see another post.It’ s an interesting finding and makes a lot of sense if you see it from the perspective that it forces the presenter to be much more specific about what they want to say. (in line with your BPP approach).

  3. Joel says:

    The title really helps to drive home the theme of the slides, so that makes a lot of sense to me. Nice post!

  4. Tex Brieger says:

    Great resource! I have been looking at Michael Alley’s articles and research and I am glad you’ve included his work on “visual evidence” slide design.

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