Evidence-based Presentation Design: Still “Anemic”

Soon after I became interested in presentation design, I began reading everything I could find on the subject. This first led me to books like Slide:ology and Presentation Design, but I then started to find some of the original literature the principles are based on.

In March of 2007, the AAMC’s Institute for Improving Medical Education published the recommendations of a colloquium on the use of educational technology in Medical Education.

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The key finding in regards to presentation design can be summarized in the following quote:

“…participants agreed that the current evidence base for educational technology in medicine is anemic. Although numerous publications have documented the feasibility of technology to enhance learning in various settings, little is established about precisely when to employ technology during medical education, and how best to use it when it is employed.

Fast forward 3 years, and we are still looking for the answers.

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According to the author, “the majority of medical school lectures run contrary to best practices in instructional design.” I would argue this is true of the majority of ALL presentations.

What does this mean for us?

As educators, we need to challenge the current educational practices and conduct research to find the best ways to educate our learners. It also means that it is our job to incorporate best practices into our teaching. This is especially important for medical education as enhancing the learning, skills, and retention of our students may lead directly to better patient care and patient outcomes.

We can definitely cure our anemia.


AAMC. Effective Use of Educational Technology in Medical Education. March 2007. Available at: aamc.org. Downloaded May 22, 2013

Levinson, A. Where is the evidence-based instructional design in medical education curriculum development? Medical Education. 2010;44:536-7

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