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Rapid and Accurate Idea Transfer: Presenting Ideas with Concept Maps

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Final rept. 18 Jan-30 Jul 2008

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In business, government and military settings, slideshows typically created and shown using Microsoft PowerPoint are the preferred medium for presenting complex ideas. Critics have pointed to the slavish, indeed dangerous, use of slideshows, warning of their tendency to reduce the analytic quality of presentations of evidence. The U.S. militarys recognition of the pervasive use of PowerPoint presentations has led it to consider whether the conventions that such software supports may be serving as a root cause of systemic under performance in organizations that depend heavily on the rapid and accurate communication of complex concepts. Concept Maps Cmaps have proven useful for capturing, organizing, and assessing knowledge. An example Cmap summarizes the report. The benefits of Cmaps for transferring knowledge have not been extensively examined, and empirical findings on the matter have mostly been limited to educational applications. This Phase I SBIR investigation presented an information set to 61 military graduate students in four formats liner text, hypertext, a set of Concept Maps and resources, and a PowerPoint presentation. Preferences for the Concept Maps and PowerPoint presentation were also examined. Results showed the Concept Map group scored higher, on average, than the PowerPoint group on the key measure of knowledge transfer, and that the PowerPoint group scored better than the Concept Map group on the measure of average acquisition time. The Concept Map-based format was preferred over the PowerPoint-based format. The authors include recommendations for next generation capabilities for presenting using CmapTools.

Subject Categories:

  • Information Science
  • Computer Programming and Software

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