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Indian J Med Microbiol. 2017 Apr-Jun;35(2):199-203. doi: 10.4103/ijmm.IJMM_16_251.

Departing from PowerPoint default mode: Applying Mayer's multimedia principles for enhanced learning of parasitology.

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Professor of Microbiology, J N Medical College and Former Director, University Department of Education for Health Professions, KLE University, Belgaum, Karnataka, India.



PowerPoint (PPT™) presentation has become an integral part of day-to-day teaching in medicine. Most often, PPT™ is used in its default mode which in fact, is known to cause boredom and ineffective learning. Research has shown improved short-term memory by applying multimedia principles for designing and delivering lectures. However, such evidence in medical education is scarce. Therefore, we attempted to evaluate the effect of multimedia principles on enhanced learning of parasitology.


Second-year medical students received a series of lectures, half of the lectures used traditionally designed PPT™ and the rest used slides designed by Mayer's multimedia principles. Students answered pre and post-tests at the end of each lecture (test-I) and an essay test after six months (test-II) which assessed their short and long term knowledge retention respectively. Students' feedback on quality and content of lectures were collected.


Statistically significant difference was found between post test scores of traditional and modified lectures (P = 0.019) indicating, improved short-term memory after modified lectures. Similarly, students scored better in test II on the contents learnt through modified lectures indicating, enhanced comprehension and improved long-term memory (P < 0.001). Many students appreciated learning through multimedia designed PPT™ and suggested for their continued use.


It is time to depart from default PPT™ and adopt multimedia principles to enhance comprehension and improve short and long term knowledge retention. Further, medical educators may be trained and encouraged to apply multimedia principles for designing and delivering effective lectures.

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