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close this book Audio-Visual Communication Handbook
close this folder Presentation methods and materials
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Other presentation media

Printed materials can range from a simple silk-screened poster to an elaborate book. Seven relatively simple materials will be considered here. These are charts, posters, pictures, flash cards, maps, leaflets and pamphlets, and wall newspapers. When making and using any of these materials for use in the classroom or in the community, several basic ideas should be kept in mind.

- Base the selection of media on its suitability to the subject matter being communicated, the specific audience, . and the resources available.

- Design materials so that they will attract the attention of the audience.

- Keep all materials simple. Avoid words or illustrations that do not contribute to the message.


- Pretest materials whenever possible. This is particularly important when making printed materials that may reach many people. Testing even a rough prototype leaflet or poster with a small sample of the audience can determine whether the words and illustrations are readily understood. In addition, factual errors are often detected.


Pictorial and graphic charts are among the most useful visual materials. Presented during a discussion, they can clarify difficult concepts and emphasize important points. Commercial charts are available on many subjects, or charts can be hand drawn and lettered on light-colored cloth, cardboard or heavy paper such as cement bag paper. If multiple copies are needed, they can be silk screened or printed.

Paper charts can be mounted on cloth by the wet mounting method to increase their durability. Charts can be divided into several major categories.

- Bar charts indicate relative quantities by a series of vertical or horizontal bars and are good for showing changes over a period of time. When making a bar chart, use only essential information and be particularly careful with layout. The bars should not crowd the edges and the space between bars should be about half the width of a bar. Shading or coloring the bars will add emphasis. Such charts should be used only with sophisticated audiences.

Bar charts

- Pie charts show the relationship between a whole and its parts, such as the relationship between single crop and total crop production, or between various budget categories and a total budget. To maintain clarity, slice the pie into no more than six or seven pieces. Add emphasis and separate different items by using colors.

Pie charts

- Line charts show trends by using a line that indicates relationships between two factors such as sales and time or growth and time. Several bits of data can be handled on one chart by using solid lines, dashed lines and dotted lines, or colored lines can be used. Too much information can be confusing so keep charts simple.

Line charts

- Pictorial charts use symbols to indicate quantities and are good for comparing population data, outputs of different crops or production of various manufactured products. Always check the meaning of the symbols with a sampling of the audience to be sure they are understood.

Pictorial charts

- Flow charts combine boxes or drawings with lines and captions to show sequences or processes such as life cycles or administrative structures. Such charts can form the structure for an entire talk, supplemented by charts explaining each step in the basic flow chart. Avoid complicated diagrams that will confuse the audience. It is better to break a complicated chart into two or more simple ones.

Flow charts

- Illustrative charts are pictures or diagrams that may or may not be accompanied by verbal descriptions. Illustrative charts can be made to serve many purposes. Complicated charts can be displayed on a wall or bulletin board so they can be studied at leisure. If charts are to be used with a class or large audience, keep the illustrations simple and the lettering large enough to be easily read at a distance.

Illustrative charts

When making and using any chart, plan carefully. Be sure the content selected and the organization of the content is appropriate to the objectives and audience. Design each chart so that it will attract attention and present a clear, easily understood message to the audience.

Flip charts are simply a series of charts bound together at the top. They are used primarily to present a step-by-step sequence such as the steps in planting, the steps in cleaning fish, or the steps in bathing a baby.

Flip charts

To make a flip chart that is easy to display, use a piece of plywood or hardboard the same as the charts.

1. Drill two holes at the top of the board and two matching holes in a strip of wood.

2. Punch holes in the tops of the charts and sandwich them between the board and the strip.

3. Bind with bolts and wing nuts.

The flip chart is then ready to use. To make a self-supporting flip chart:

1. Hinge two strips to the top of two plywood boards. If hinges are not available, drill holes in the plywood and use a loop of heavy cord for a hinge.

2. Sandwich the papers between the two strips and bolt together. The plywood cover serves as a stand.

3. Fasten a string through a slot in the bottom of each board to prevent it from spreading apart while in use.


Use plain paper for pages to make a pad which can be used in much the same way as a chalkboard. Make drawings on the paper with crayons, chalk, felt pens or charcoal. The pad has the advantage of allowing the user to return to previous drawings by flipping back a few pages. Moreover, he can tear off pages to give to his audience for reference. Ordinary newspaper can be used for this purpose. Choose pages that are free of large print and photographs. Be sure to use heavy dark lines so they will be easy for the audience to see.


Suggested Applications

To present the steps of a process such as spraying for mosquitoes, applying fertilizer, or packing bananas ready for market.

To show what the local co-op can do for the villager.

To relate specific foods to their food groups.

To delineate the steps in a continuing cycle such as the water cycle, the oxygen-carbon dioxide cycle, or the sulphur cycle.

To compare growth rates of children with different diets.

To show examples of different parts of speech.

To compare various geometric shapes.

Evaluation Questions

Did the chart attract attention?

Was the content appropriate to the audience and the objectives?

Was the content organized in a logical, easy to understand manner?

Were the words and illustrations understood by the audience?

Did the chart help meet the objectives?


Posters are small signs that represent one idea simply and concisely. Posters can be used to announce coming events or to remind the audience of an earlier presentation. When planning posters, keep these ideas in mind:

- Keep it simple. A poster is intended to remind, not to convey a large amount of information.

- Begin designing a poster by making several small sketches. Select the best one, or better yet, have members of the intended audience pick the one they feel will be most effective.

- Place posters in conspicuous places. They must be readily seen by the intended audience. Be sure to get permission before placing posters on private property.


- The message of the? poster must be immediately apparent. For this reason it must attract attention through a few eye-catching words and easily perceived illustrations combined in a colorful, eye-catching design.

- When possible, use elements from other phases of a campaign in posters. For example, a poster can repeat a visual from a chart, leaflet, or flannel board presentation. For carry-over between media, use a well-known character in a country, like the United States Forest Service's Smokey the Bear, who appears on posters, and bumper stickers and in pamphlets and films.

If only a few posters are to be made, do them by hand - an excellent opportunity to involve students or co-workers. For larger quantities, use stencils, silk screen, or offset printing. If posters are used to announce meetings at different times and places, work can be saved by printing a large number of posters with the space for the time and place of the meeting left blank. This information can be hand lettered in the space later.

Suggested Applications

To announce a campaign or a coming event.

To remind people to spray their house (or have it sprayed), fertilize their crop or clean up their village.

To remind farmers or housewives of a scheduled meeting or demonstration.

To remind children to wash their hands or brush their teeth.

Evaluation Questions

Did the poster attract attention?

How could it have been made more eye-catching ?

Were there enough posters to get across the message?

Was the poster's message clear to viewers?


Pictures of all kinds are useful for teaching. Used in the classroom, in a health clinic, on outdoor bulletin boards or at a demonstration site, they can help to give meaning to the words used. Pictures can show things that are too large, too small or too far away to be seen first hand. They can even show things that have happened in the past.

A wide variety of pictures are available to teachers and extension workers from educational supply houses, government agencies, travel bureaus, and commercial concerns. In many instances teachers and extension workers make their own pictures photographically. Inexpensive cameras are easy to use and processing is available in most towns. Some teachers have set up small darkrooms to process their own photographs. Involve students in taking and processing photographs - a worthwhile learning experience. There are many good books covering the basic steps of processing films and making prints. Most photographic dealers are eager to help in such a venture. A number of suggestions for taking, using, and evaluating pictures are given in the section on slides.

Flash cards


Flash cards are cards on which a simple illustration is drawn or on which a few words are printed or written. Generally, they are used in the classroom for drill purposes in language studies or arithmetic. They can also be used as a spur to discussion. Cards can depict stalks of corn, each with a different disease. The discussion leader holds up a card and members of the group attempt to identify the disease and its remedy. A similar procedure might be used in training health workers with each card showing a photograph of a patient with a different visible disease symptom.

Co-workers or students can make flash cards. Use stiff cardboard or several sheets of heavy paper neatly glued together for the card. Make the lettering and the illustration large enough to be easily seen. Use color for variety and emphasis.


Large flash cards can be used on an easel; smaller ones can be held by hand. Display each card prominently and in a fixed position during use. After using, lay it aside— a cue to the audience that it is no longer the one on which attention is to be focused.


Maps are symbolic representations of areas of the earth's surface, usually an area too large to be seen naturally. When an oil company on Guam published the first road map of the island, the response was overwhelming. A man wrote to the island paper saying, "For the first time, our children can look at a map and point out their own village and the street on which they live."

Although commercially produced maps are very useful, teacher- or student-made maps can be even more effective because they can be made to contain only those details relevant to the specific teaching objective.


Maps for classroom or project work can be made by using thin paper to trace the relevant elements from an atlas or from a map distributed by a commercial or governmental agency. Once the original tracing has been made, the map can be reduced or enlarged to the desired size by the squaring method and transferred onto a chalkboard, a large sheet of heavy paper, or a master for hectograph duplication. Use different colors for boundaries, rivers, forested areas, etc. to add to the map's appeal and to make it more readable. Too many colors may result in contusion.

Elementary or secondary school children can be assigned the task of mapping their own village. Active participation will increase the amount and retention of their learning.

Leaflets and Pamphlets

These easily-produced materials can be invaluable for communicating with many different groups, even with illiterate audiences. There is usually someone around who can read. The important thing is to make the leaflet or booklet attractive and meaningful to the audience. There are a number of points to follow when planning and producing effective written materials.

- Plan carefully. Know the audience and write for that specific group. Far too many leaflets are written to impress coworkers and bosses rather than to communicate effectively. Know the goals and select and organize material appropriate to those goals.


- Attract and hold the attention of the reader. People are attracted to a leaflet or booklet by three things:

1. The cover. A leaflet or booklet should have qualities similar to a good poster. It should attract attention, and its message should be immediately apparent. Pretesting several cover ideas with a sampling of the audience can assure the selection of an effective design.


2. The size and style of type and Illustrations, and their layout on the printed page. Selecting type may be a matter of using what is available— a typewriter. If there are choices, remember that a simple type face is most legible, and a large size such as 14 point is ideal for leaflets. Type and layout can be combined in interesting ways. Use the layout suggestions given in Basic Production Techniques, Design. Most printers can suggest type choices and layout as well as assist with other production problems.

3. The writing. Effective writing depends on several factors. Consider the audience their needs and interests, as well as their reading level. Suggestions on organization, word choice, and sentence length and structure are included in the writing section. If the content is written humorously, be sure it is humor the audience will appreciate.

- Be specific and accurate. All facts should be correct and up-to-date. Even a small error will make the audience doubt the accuracy of the rest of the publication. Include all the necessary facts but don't add extraneous information that will not contribute toward meeting the objectives.

- Consider various production possibilities. These can range from simple hectograph duplication to elaborate multi-color printing. Each method of duplicating and printing has advantages and disadvantages, depending on the quantity of leaflets needed, the kind of type and illustrations being reproduced, the quality desired, and the budget available. Hectograph or spirit duplication is useful when fewer than 100 copies are needed and professional printing quality is not essential. Cyclostyle, or mimeograph, is useful for 100 to 1000 copies. Simple illustrations can be duplicated by either process. If high quality is important, if photographs are to be reproduced, or it large quantities are needed, offset or letterpress printing must be employed.

- Consider distribution problems. How will the audience get copies of the leaflet or pamphlet? If it is to be handed out after a demonstration, consider the size and shape most convenient for carrying or putting into a pocket. If it is to be sold at a book stand, design the cover so the title will be visible in a display rack. If it is to be mailed, remember that in some countries there are mailing costs. One extra page could double this cost when quantities are being mailed.


Suggested Applications

To relate literacy campaigns to the interests and activities of villagers. In one campaign, booklets that told simple stories about catching and processing fish were planned and printed. Similarly, literary materials could be developed that relate to child care, food preparation, family planning, crop marketing or grain storage.


To provide a reminder of when things should be done. One extension worker included a calendar on the back of a booklet that described procedures for planting and fertilizing. The dates for planting, weeding, and fertilizing several different crops were marked on the calendar.

To prepare test booklets covering a wide range of school subjects. For small quantities, hectograph copies can be made that are very useful in the classroom.

To motivate people to visit a health clinic or co-op market. Booklets can be written in an interesting format such as the comic strip book, Dos Familias It visually showed the advantages of family planning.


To supplement a demonstration on fertilizer application, canning food, or building a latrine. A pamphlet provides a ready reference to the steps that should be followed. Clear illustrations are essential in this kind of publication.

To augment the program of a children's clinic. One doctor who had tar more patients than he could handle combined a diet guide with a record of children's weight gain. Each new mother in the community received a single-told leaflet. The front page included the title and the baby's name. The second and third pages listed and pictured foods necessary in a child's diet at various ages. The back page contained a graph on which the baby's weight was recorded by a health auxiliary during monthly visits to the clinic. It the weight tell outside the acceptable range printed on the leaflet, the child was referred to the doctor for examination. All of the mothers prized these personalized records and took excellent care of them. Very few were lost.

Evaluation Questions

Is the leaflet or booklet appropriate to the needs, interests, and literary level of the audience?

Is the material organized in such a way that it can be followed and understood?

Does the cover attract attention or could it have been improved by better design or the use of different colors?

Is the content factually correct?

Is the writing interesting to the audience?

Do the illustrations contribute to the message being communicated?

Were the production and distribution methods appropriate?

Many other questions could be asked. Remember that pretesting materials is essential. Use an inexpensive duplicating technique to produce a few dozen copies that can be tested with a sample of the audience. Changes can then be made before starting large-scale production. A summary of checkpoints for better booklets is included in Appendix 2.

Wall Newspapers


A wall newspaper is exactly what the name implies - a newspaper that is fastened to a wall or bulletin board. It is used to communicate more detailed information than would be found on a poster or chart. Agricultural extension agents responsible for isolated areas have found them to be of great value to keep farmers aware of developments in the field. Like regular newspapers, the wall newspaper carries items of interest that may or may not pertain to the same topic. Text should be simple and direct, and large headings, photographs, and illustrations should be used freely. Since editions are usually limited, wall newspapers can be printed by the stencil duplicating process. If photographs are used, offset or letterpress printing will be necessary.

Suggested Applications

To make a progress report on a pest control program.

To announce the forthcoming visit of a nutritionist.

To provide detailed instructions for applying fertilizer.

To warn against the dangers of impure water or some insect pest that is prevalent.

To provide a follow-up article relating to a slide show or demonstration previously presented.

To present news of general interest.

To announce an agricultural show.

To provide reading material in conjunction with a literacy program.


Wall newspapers serve some of the same purposes as posters, charts, leaflets and pamphlets; therefore, evaluation criteria are similar.