Snap! Using flip cards to aid learning

Published by UCLan Centre for Collaborative Learning on

Author: Lyndsay Cooke – Lecturer in Nursing, University of Central Lancashire

I’ll start with a little about me…

I teach in the School of Nursing on the BSc, MSc and Nursing Associate Programmes, with a particular interest in Adult and Mental Health Nursing (my predominant background). When I started as a student at UCLan, I never particularly liked watching/reading through PowerPoint slides. I would often feel bored and easily lose interest, particularly if the subject was complex. So, when I later joined UCLan as a Nurse Educator and started to develop clinical skills sessions and resources, I decided I would make them as interesting and interactive as possible.

It is believed that there are more than 500 million PowerPoint users worldwide (Amerbauer, 2019), and I am one of those! I find there are many tools in PowerPoint which can support a good presentation. However, they are often underutilised, with many people opting to simply read the information off their slides. This approach does not support inclusion and the many diverse needs of our learners.

Simpson, Pollacia, Speers and Wills (2003) conducted a study to see whether students responded well to PowerPoint presentations. In the study, it was highlighted that students found PowerPoint a good resource for their learning, especially when alternative ways of presenting were used, such as imagery.

I wanted to make PowerPoints more than just a simple reading activity, and started to explore different ways in which I could make them more interactive. I worked on Microsoft Sway and tried using Microsoft Forms for quizzes, but one thing I really enjoyed was creating pairing games and flip cards to include more information about a topic.

I found a video online (Interactive Games with Triggers in PowerPoint – Download and Animation Tutorial) that showed me how to create flip cards and utilise the triggers tool to cause the cards to flip over when clicked on. The first time I used this was within a cannulation session. There were five images of different cannula types. When a student clicked onto the image, it would turn the card over, highlighting the name and some additional information regarding the cannula.

As this was a new resource, I was nervous about implementing it and unsure if it would work efficiently when more people tried to access it. Initial feedback highlighted that some students had encountered issues with it working. When investigating further, I identified a limitation of the resource. When a learner viewed the PowerPoint in ‘edit mode’, the flip cards would not work. Instead, the PowerPoint must be viewed in ‘presentation mode’. I helped to overcome this issue by ensuring that an announcement and description were added to the link for the PowerPoint prior to it being accessed. This appeared to reduce the number of issues raised by students.

By taking this approach, slides are less ‘text heavy’, allowing learners to access key information more easily. Moving forward, I will continue to utilise this resource within PowerPoints, and would encourage others to try it out too.

Sources of information

Amerbauer, D., (2019). 10 Interesting and Unknown Facts about Microsoft Powerpoint. Retrieved from: 10 Facts about PowerPoint in 2022 (Infographic) | SlideLizard®

Simpson, C., Pollacia, L., Speers, J., & Willis, H. (2003). What Do Students Really Think About Powerpoint Lectures? Retrieved from: (PDF) WHAT DO STUDENTS REALLY THINK ABOUT POWERPOINT LECTURES? (researchgate.net)

Photo by cookiethepom on Unsplash


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