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Q: Is it a good idea to embed GIF or other animation into a Powerpoint presentation?

I am working on a 50 minutes technical presentation and trying insert some "breaks" after each 10-15 minutes. The presentation is to be delivered live through a projector, but the slides are likely to be uploaded for public viewing.

I saw other presentations on how to make beautiful slides (this one for example). No one seems to mention the use of animation. Bad idea?

This question seems to be within the boundaries of this site, at least per this answer

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closed as too broad by DA01, Graham Herrli, Matt Obee, kontur, Izhaki Sep 28 '13 at 19:38

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Without specific context, it's really impossible for us to say. It may work and add to the presentation. It may distract. Really hard to know without seeing the actual presentation. – DA01 Sep 26 '13 at 22:10
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Some times ago I have a discussion with local folks from powerlexis (sorry, it's on Russian and burried deep). My point is presentation are divided on two types:

  • for live presenting,
  • for downloading, i.e. for learning without presenter.

The requirements for both types are different. It's rather weird to watch some non-relevant animation in the middle of technical presentation which are learned without presenter. Because there is a lack of context! Obviously, in live presentation you provide some comments on your animation, which is not the case for the offline presentation.

For live presentation some breaks is a good technique. Human attention and its concentration decrease over time. So periodical breaks are necessary. It could be cases, anecdotes, images and animations. The type of "break content" should be relevant to your audience.

Providing analogy with learning process,

Periodic breaks in lectures improve attentiveness and help develop the ability to concentrate. Students rarely come equipped to concentrate for the full lecture period. Successful television producers and radio commentators know well that people have a very limited attention span. The secret of success lies in the ability to control when the students are concentrating, and when they are not. If lecturers can control die timing of student attention, then they can feed the important material during those periods. Successful breaks in lectures, at short intervals, are a means to that control. Providing breaks is a technical aspect of good lecturing.

Waugh, Geoffrey H. and Waugh, Russell F. (1999) "The Value of Lectures in Teacher Education: The group perspective," Australian Journal of Teacher Education: Vol. 24: Iss. 1, Article 3.

Ideally it's better to remove non-relevant animation from presentation for downloading.

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