I had a client yesterday ask the question, ‘Why am I using dot points and not numbering?’. Today I was asked the same question in an Instructional Design forum.
I prefer using dot points to full paragraphs because:
- it is cleaner and simpler for the learner
- it creates white space
- it only provides the learner with the information that they need.
Numbering on the other hand should be used wehn you need to demonstrate a sequence or process; for example when showing a process or procedure, an agenda, or legislation.
It begs a bigger question though. Are dot points an effective tool for engaging learners? When used correctly they are a great way to organise content and increase readability. However, Instructional Designers do tend to misuse and overuse dotpoints.
Here are some creative ways to reduce dot points:
- rewrite as a question and allow the narration to answer the question
- shorten bullet points from full sentences to a phrase or even a word
- use one bullet point per slide
- use an image, graphic, chart or animation in place of each bullet.
For more examples go to eLearning Heroes.