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Varieties of Visual Aids

Varieties of Visual Aids

There are many types of visual aids to choose from when planning your presentation. You can use chalkboards, posters, flipcharts, objects or models, overhead projectors, slide projectors, computers, and even yourself (that is, gestures, body movements, demonstrations of activity). There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of visual aid. The medium you finally choose will depend on your training goals, the makeup of your audience, and of course, your budget. Following are some questions to ask yourself to help you select the appropriate instructional aid:

  1. What is your audience's learning profile: their reading level, attention span, previous learning experiences, norms, and expectations? You need to make sure that on the one hand, the audience is challenged appropriately; and on the other hand, that your presentation doesn't go over their heads.

  2. To what extent must the instruction simulate the desired skills? Is procedure of utmost importance? If so, a model or physical demonstration—or at the very least a videotape— might be needed.

  3. Will sound, motion, color, or other effects be required to present the message effectively? If you only need to highlight specific points, a transparency or word slides might be sufficient.

  4. Under what conditions will the instruction take place? What will be the room size, audience size, availability of equipment?

  5. Do you have the resources—time, money, expertise, support—to develop a program that uses the appropriate medium to its best advantage?

  6. Does the value of the training justify the expense of the medium?


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