Slide Bundle Guide for Instructional Designers

Before media production begins on a course, you will often review narrated presentations commonly produced in PowerPoint. You may come upon presentations where using a slide bundle would improve student engagement and reduce cognitive overload. This guide helps you identify cases where slide bundles would be effective. It also provides clear guidelines about how best to communicate with your Media Specialist to create slide bundles for your course.

What Is a Slide Bundle?

Slide bundles are used for simple slide content changes that appear, disappear, or change instantly. As an ID, you might recommend a slide bundle to direct the student’s focus as demonstrated in the following example:

In the next part of this guide, you’ll find some examples of slide bundles and the instructional strategies or goals they help achieve.

When do I use Slide Bundles?

Because slide bundles increase the production time for Instructional Design and Media, both groups should be judicious in selecting when to use them. When used strategically, slide bundles can be a useful teaching tool and help you better meet your instructional goals.

Slide bundles use each of the methods below to improve student learning. The methods are complementary and can be applied individually or collectively. For example, you may find that emphasizing components helps to reduce cognitive load. The examples given for each method are a small selection of the many ways to achieve better media design – they’re not intended to be an exhaustive list. The needs of the course, the preferences of the faculty, and the goals of the students all impact how you design your media. There are many ways to do this effectively.

Create Anticipation

Creating anticipation is a key method to motivate students. By fostering expectation, building excitement, or asking your viewers to predict what happens next, you help them maintain attention and focus during a presentation. Review the example and be mindful of how the design of the presentation aids your ability to focus.

View Example

Reduce Cognitive Load

Reducing or preventing unnecessary cognitive load – the burden of mentally processing information – is one of the cornerstones of strong media design. There are three methods to reduce cognitive load and our example demonstrates each one simultaneously. As you review the example, observe how the presenter:

  • Avoids presenting information that isn’t relevant to the goal
  • Presents information in an easy-to-process manner (small chunks; emphasizing key points)
  • Allows for time to fully process and understand new information

View Example

Reduce Directional Language

Reducing directional language in presentations reduces cognitive load. The term “directional language” refers to words or phrases that use physical orientation to direct attention. Words or phrases such as: over there, here, this, that and these. Directional language is problematic because a viewer’s physical orientation may not match the presenter’s, which can create confusion. Instead use clear specific language that unambiguously identifies the content that is being discussed.

View Example

Break Down Complex Processes

Slide bundles are used to break down challenging concepts into smaller, components that are easier to process. This is especially important when students encounter new information; presenting information in manageable chunks aids in retention and, ultimately, application. The example provided demonstrates how to effectively represent complex processes in a slide bundle presentation.

View Example

Emphasize Components

One advantage of visual media such as a slide bundles is the ability to emphasize components of diagrams, paragraphs, illustrations, or data sets in sync with narration. As students encounter new information, this emphasis helps them identify what is important and where it’s best for them to direct their attention. Review the example for guidance on how to effectively apply this technique.

View Example

How Do I Communicate Bundle Recommendations with the Media Team?

To produce your slide bundles, your Media Specialist will need to know what aspects of a slide will change and when. (You can see some example bundle specifications below.) Communicating this information ensures your slide bundles are well planned and ready for the Media Team to execute when they receive a presentation. You are encouraged to reach out to your Media Specialist if you need help making decisions about where to use slide bundles. Your Media Specialist can act as a sounding board for ideas, give feedback about where to use bundles and help assess how many bundles are appropriate in a presentation.

Communicating Slide Bundle Specifications

When you communicate the production specifications for a slide bundle to Media, be sure to address the following three components:

1. Slide Content

  • All of the content used in the slide bundle should be placed on the slide in its correct position. Oftentimes, the slide should be in its final state (or how it looks when it’s finished playing).
  • For cases where an item is only shown during the middle of a bundle (such as an arrow or label that appears then disappears), the item should still be placed where it will appear.
  • For items that appear in multiple locations on a slide, add all instances of its appearance. Every instance will need a timestamp and a description, as described below.

Please note again that slide bundles are for simple slide content changes that appear, disappear, or change instantly. Please reach out to your Media Specialist if you need an animation instead of a bundle. Also, if you are unsure about how to organize the slide content for more complicated situations, please contact your Media Specialist for help.

2. Timestamps

  • You should specify the exact timestamp for each change (items appearing or disappearing, etc.) within the slide bundle.
  • You should always start with the initial state of the bundle, which is what students see when the slide bundle starts.
  • Timestamps are obtained by listening to the audio in PowerPoint and noting down the times. This is done via the narration icon (speaker) on the slide, not in presentation mode.

Descriptions of Changes

  • For each timestamp, you should describe what slide content will change. Changes include showing content, hiding content, or simple modifications to content.

All of these instructions should be listed in the notes section of the slide in PowerPoint. Because these notes may be in addition to other notes for Media, be sure to label them clearly. Please delete any note not intended for Media.

Example Bundle Specifications

The following two examples show a slide and corresponding bundle specifications that should be placed in the notes for that slide.

The Anatomy of an Onion - Slide example

Slide Bundle
00:00 – (Initial State) – Title and two onion images.
00:30 – Add top label.
00:35 – Add bottom label.
00:43 – Add bud label and arrows.
00:50 – Add tunic label and arrows, dim previous label/arrows.
01:02 – Add bulb label and arrows, dim previous label/arrows.
01:14 – Add leaves label and arrows, dim previous label/arrows.
01:25 – Add root label and arrows, dim previous label/arrows.

Ruminant Digestion - Slide example

Slide Bundle
00:00 – (Initial State) – Show only slide title and cow.
00:15 – Add mouth label.
00:17 – Add burps label.
00:28 – Hide all labels and show rumen label.
00:40 – Hide rumen label and show heart and reticulum label.
00:45 – Show nail in front of the cow’s face.
00:50 – Show nail in reticulum and hide the other nail.
01:01 – Show nail in rumen, show magnet, hide the other nail, show burps.
01:15 – Hide magnet, nail, labels, and burps. Show omasum label.
01:30 – Hide omasum label, and heart. Show abomasum label.
01:50 – Hide abomasum label, show small intestine label.
02:11 – Hide small intestine label. Show large intestine label.
02:20 – Hide large intestine label. Show anus label.


The resources below were used as the basis for the slide bundles examples. They provide a deeper exploration into multimedia best practices.

  • Multimedia Learning, University of Buffalo Center for Educational Innovation.
    • Overview of multimedia principle and multimedia design theory. Provides background information on building a foundation for creating effective media content.
  • Victor A. Benassi, Catherin E. Overson, & Christopher M. Hakala (Eds., 2014). Research-Based Principles for Designing Multimedia Instruction (excerpt from The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia written by Richard E. Mayer, compiled in Applying Science of Learning in Education):  Excerpt (PDF) | Applying Science of Learning in Education
    • Key principles, concepts, and definitions relating to multimedia design and instruction.

Published on October 20, 2022 at 2:52:21 pm CDT. Last modified on October 20, 2022 at 2:52:38 pm CDT.