Communicating Complex Information: Presenting Your Ideas Clearly and Effectively

Free Online course
Communicating Complex Information:  
Presenting Your Ideas Clearly and Effectively
18 September 2017

Understand how to communicate complex information to lay audiences

In a time when experts are all too often ignored or misunderstood, communicating complex information accurately to inexperienced audiences is a prized skill. This course will help your develop this skill. You will learn specific strategies to get your ideas across in a more impactful way; discovering how to organise your messages, techniques for explaining abstract ideas, and how to use and create visuals to enhance understanding.

What topics will you cover?
  1. Three different explanation models: quasi-scientific, transformation and elucidating
  2. Barriers to effective explanations including myths
  3. The importance of audience analysis in effectively communicating complex ideas
  4. Using analogies to explain abstract ideas.
  5. Effective organization in oral presentations
  6. Infographics.
  7. Creating organisational structures.
  8. Producing charts which enhance audience understanding.

What will you achieve?
By the end of this course you will be able to:
  • Use different methods to overcome the barriers that most audiences face when learning complex information
  • Apply practices for organizing and explaining ideas orally
  • Design presentation slides for improved audience understanding
  • Communicate complex ideas or material to various audiences.

What topics will you cover?

Course Topics

  • Three different explanation models: quasi-scientific, transformation and elucidating
  • Barriers to effective explanations including myths
  • The importance of audience analysis in effectively communicating complex ideas
  • Using analogies to explain abstract ideas.
  • Effective organization in oral presentations
  • Infographics.
  • Creating organisational structures.
  • Producing charts which enhance audience understanding.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course you will be able to:
  • Use different methods to overcome the barriers that most audiences face when learning complex information
  • Apply practices for organizing and explaining ideas orally
  • Design presentation slides for improved audience understanding
  • Communicate complex ideas or material to various audiences.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you'll be able to...
  • Present complex ideas to non-expert audiences
  • Design presentation slides for improved audience understanding
  • Apply practices for organizing and explaining ideas orally
  • Investigate different methods to overcome the barriers that most audiences face when learning complex information
Who is the course for?
This course is for anyone who has to explain new ideas to lay publics where there are vast differences between the speaker and their audience in their command of the content. It will be of particular use to teachers, scientists, communication experts, financial experts and medical experts.

Who will you learn with?
Melanie Morgan is an associate professor of communication at Purdue. She teaches classes in science communication and quantitative research methods and is the author of Effective Presentations.

Douglas Pruim, I am the assistant course director for Science Writing and Communication at Purdue and a PhD candidate in interpersonal communication. I research the "light side" of communication like humor and play.

Who developed the course?
One of the four best public universities in the US, Purdue delivers an engaging learning experience and a world-class degree.

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