I've just been reading a very interesting article on Cognitive Load Theory & Instructional Design by Dr Graham Cooper of the University of New South Wales, Australia.
The theory looks at how our short-term and long-term memory processes interact with the learning process, and Dr Cooper's article relates the theory to educational applications.
I came across this article when reading through a posting to the Networked Learning Google Group. The posting was from the Learning Technologies blog & was titled Ditch PowerPoint! The article quoted Dr Swiller from the University of New South Wales as saying "The use of the PowerPoint presentation has been a disaster...It should be ditched." However the impression that I've gotten from reading Cooper's article (the article that Swiller has posted on his website which describes Cognitive Learning Theory) is more that people tend to use power point inappropriately. In my opinion Power Point is still an effective method to deliver theory, diagrams and images. The problem comes when it is used without attending to the cognitive processing capacities of the learner. I've used the theory of Dr. Cooper's article in the development of some lecture material that I will be delivering next term using a combination of Power Point and in-class activities, and I'm confident that attention to these ideas have really lifted my game as a facilitator of learning.
Having said that, I can't personally see any place for the use of powerpoint in the online context. Everything that can be delivered via a PPT presentation can in my opinion be more effectively presented in a web form.
I haven't completely finished reading Dr Cooper's article, but those are my thoughts for now.