Some personal thoughts about a recently attended event, which shall remain anonymous in order to make candid reflections (not revelations though as I expect most people have had similar experiences/thoughts):
- The room environment can impinge on the learning experience. We were warned about the erratic temperature control before the beginning of the event; it didn’t bother me but noticeably bothered others including one attendee who donned a knitted hat!
- A total blackout can make a more immersive learning experience. In the case of one presentation the total blackout was very effective, creating an almost cinematic experience due to the speaker’s clever use of PowerPoint (building a visual narrative) and excellent oral delivery.
- A total blackout can be really physically uncomfortable and disconcerting. It must have been a good number of years since I last experienced a lecture theatre in such darkness; when the lights came on for questions at the end of each presentation everyone was virtually blinded by the light. It was also impossible to take notes during most of the presentations, apart from those presentations which included slides with white backgrounds when there was just enough light to see.
- I reflected on the presentations given at the event thinking about how I could improve both the PowerPoint presentations I have given as well as improve my presentation skills generally. From conversations with others at the event I think this largely comes down to: good visuals; clever use of terminology; clarity of thought and expression; and above all practice!!