Much of the nursing education literature suggests that lecture and PowerPoints are ineffective in the teaching/learning process, particularly among Millennial learners, who make up the bulk of the undergraduate population in most colleges today. Moreover, traditional lectures in which only the instructor speaks and the students are required to listen passively may not sufficiently motivate students or inspire enthusiasm or intellectual curiosity. Studies indicate that active learning through class discussion, gaming, or use of clickers to indicate whether students are clear on particular concepts are far more effective in promoting deep, authentic learning than are the more traditional pedagogical approaches.
However, lectures are still used frequently by many instructors. One advantage of lecturing is that it is cost-effective; one instructor can lecture to hundreds of students, in the classroom or online, whereas more teachers (instructors or graduate teaching assistants) are needed to moderate small group discussions or guide students through activities such as gaming. Additionally, abandoning passive learning means relinquishing some control in the classroom, which results in ambiguity and, occasionally, frustration on the part of the instructor and students. Some educators also are reluctant to move past lectures and PowerPoint because that's how they were taught and they are not convinced that less authoritarian methods can work.
Frankly, I don't think we should abandon lectures or PowerPoints completely but I think nurse educators need to be creative and innovative in their approaches. I agree completely with posters who have stated that PowerPoints can be effective as guides or outlines for content. The best PowerPoints are rich with illustrations, charts, and other graphics and are aesthetically pleasing. Or they're short and sweet---one of my profs did very short PowerPoints that did not have much in the way of graphics but they were to the point and conveyed what she wanted to say in a concise, straightforward manner. Her presentations were supplements to our learning, not the whole lesson.
I absolutely agree that canned PowerPoints (that is, the ones supplied by the textbook companies) are terrible. I am sure they are a huge timesaver but they are often so completely worthless in trying to convey important information. I hate to say this but if the instructor doesn't care enough to put effort into even modifying the canned PowerPoints into something a bit more relevant, the students end up not caring enough to put forth their best efforts. It's hard to feel enthusiastic about a class when you get the feeling that your instructor is less than enthusiastic as well.