Narrated Presentation Best Practices

Presentation Length

As a general rule, try to keep your presentations under 20 minutes in length. That equates to approximately 10 to 20 slides per presentation. Research conducted by Dr. Maureen Murphy at the University of North Texas found that people enjoyed 20-minute presentations more, learned more information immediately after, and retained more information a month later compared to presentations that were over 60 minutes in length. If your presentation is lengthy, consider breaking it into multiple presentations.

Slide Design

Keep the slides simple and easy to read. As a general rule, we encourage you to follow the 5|5|5 rule: no more than five words per line of text, five lines of text per slide, or five text-heavy slides in a row.

Whenever possible, use graphics to tell a story. Similar to the intent behind billboard ads, a student should be able to comprehend a slide’s information after a short glance. Imagery can help achieve this. Illustrating concepts using graphics instead of text will help you reduce text content and improve engagement.

Finally, if you are using statistics to convey a concept or illustrate a point, consider translating the data into visual representations. Be as simple and straightforward as possible, or you risk confusing the audience with too much information. However, it is sometimes more effective to share statistics using compelling and descriptive language.

Audio Narration

We encourage you to record audio narration for your presentations. This is an effective way to incorporate your perspective and expertise to help improve student learning.

As a general rule, we encourage you to keep each slide’s audio narration under two minutes. If a slide’s audio narration surpasses the two minute mark, the slide is typically too content heavy. Keep the information as granular as possible.

Engagement and Interactivity

Our Storybook Media Player is content agnostic and incredibly flexible which gives you the ability to incorporate videos, animation, audio narration, graphics, interactive simulations, and quizzes into your presentations. This means when you design your presentation, think of ways that you can engage your students throughout. One easy way to accomplish this is by adding self-assessments. The Media Services team has created templates that you can leverage to help with this. Please speak to your ID and Media Strategist because they can help you integrate quizzes and other interactivity into your presentations.

Evergreen Content

When designing your presentation and recording your audio, please refrain from referencing specific book or course information like page numbers, lesson or unit numbers, and image figure numbers. Also, remove any references to the semester or year in your narrations and scripts. The reasoning behind this is if the book or course changes, you will not have to re-record your audio narration or change the slide design. This will save you a significant amount of time when you revise the course in the future.


Finally, when designing your presentations, if you want to bounce ideas off of your instructional designer or media strategist, please do so! We are here to help and thoroughly enjoy working on design projects with you. We can provide input on topics ranging from design considerations to engagement strategies.

Published on January 09, 2020 at 3:15:49 pm CST. Last modified on January 09, 2020 at 3:15:49 pm CST.