Why Use Flip Charts?

Isn’t it about time we went back to using flip charts?

Ha! Some of us never stopped!

Okay so you can easily trip over a flip chart but outside of this comedy gold there are actually many good reasons for using one.

For starters, they are low-tech and analogue so they won’t let you down. See it as a reliable old workhorse that will do the job. As a presentation media, a flip chart is a ‘safe bet’ and you won’t be boring everyone to tears with mindless PowerPoint. The simplest resources are often the best.

If you are teaching or pitching to a group in the 30-40 area then a flip chart is flippin’ ideal. There is far less of a barrier using a flip chart and your teaching or presentation can be more intimate and interactive. By allowing learners to come and write on the sheets, they become more engaged and focused and they allow for more creativity and spontaneity too. You can’t beat writing things down as you go!

Flip charts are inexpensive and they can be easily moved between rooms and venues. Unlike a PowerPoint they don’t have to be a presentational crutch either. Use them by all means but they don’t hog their limelight. PowerPoint visuals become the presentation rather than the teacher. With a flip chart, you are the presentation and the flip chart is there as an aid. This means you put  more energy into your teaching rather than let PowerPoint do all the teaching for you.

I like flip charts more than PowerPoint because they are far more interactive. You can write your ideas and notes on them but they are perfect for recording what people say in the room so they have a superior feedback function. PowerPoint doesn’t allow for that. They are also certainly better for drawing out ideas to enable better understanding and to get input directly from a group. When you use a flip chart something odd happens – learners ask more questions and there are far more learning conversations that take place!

As discussions progress you can tear out the sheets of paper and display them around a room to show how ideas are developing. This helps create a learning journey for learners to review. Does PowerPoint do this? No it does not.

Flip charts aren’t ‘relics’ but one of the most versatile tools readily available to us for teaching, learning and assessment.

For a wonderful list of Flip Chart Do’s and Taboos then see Andrew Dlugan’s excellent blog.

See also Ken Norman’s top tips in this video:

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