Does teaching with PowerPoint increase students’ learning? A meta-analysis

James P. Baker, Alan K. Goodboy, Nicholas D. Bowman, Alyssa A. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


PowerPoint has become a ubiquitous tool for instructors who teach college students. Almost two decades of student learning research has examined the impact of traditional instruction (i.e., chalk and talk) versus instruction aided by PowerPoint. This research has revealed inconsistent and contrasting results. To probe this inconsistency, a meta-analysis of 48 studies was conducted to determine if students learn more when taught the same material using PowerPoint compared to traditional instruction. Results revealed that on average, there was no difference in students’ learning based on the type of instruction they received (Hedges’ g = 0.067; 95% CI: −0.103 to 0.236). Moderation analyses revealed that the sampling frame, such as a focus on K-12 versus college students, explained heterogeneity in the findings. Specifically, K-12 students’ cognitive learning increased as a result of PowerPoint instruction, but this effect did not emerge for college students. The results of this meta-analysis suggest that researchers should move past strictly comparing the absence or presence of this instructional tool, to instead examine how instructors are integrating features of PowerPoint in ways that help students learn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-387
Number of pages12
JournalComputers and Education
StatePublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive learning
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Multimedia instruction
  • PowerPoint instruction
  • Traditional instruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Education


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