TEACHING AT PITT: PechaKucha presentations for teachers and students | University Times


“Death by PowerPoint” is a common phenomenon in higher education. It may seem that these deadly conversations will go on forever: the speakers read condensed lists of points; Audience members fidgeted impatiently, trying to extract important points or completely zoning; Everyone is waiting for the ordeal to end.


  • Images are essential in PechaKuchas, so encourage students to use their own photography when possible.

  • Instead, teach students not only good presentation techniques but also about copyright. See how to perform an advanced Google image search with copyright restrictions and consider using CC search.

  • Provide specific instructions in as much detail as possible, including your rubric, and point students to good PechaKuchas examples.

  • Provide students with many opportunities for guided practice in the classroom and encourage them to practice on their own as well.

  • A debriefing session after the PechaKucha assignment can reinforce metacognition and help students fully understand what they have learned and how they benefited from the project.

PechaKucha offerings, according to new research, offer a refreshing alternative. The name PechaKuchas derives from the Japanese term for “chit-chat,” presentations made up of 20 slides that automatically run for only 20 seconds each for a presentation no longer than about seven minutes in total.

PechaKuchas mainly feature images with few (or even no) words. The goal of PechaKucha is to “tell a story rather than trying to describe the slides” (Hirst 2016, p. 141) — “speak less and show more,” in the words of PechaKucha developers Astrid Klein and Mark Deetham — and the result is that both presenter and audience focus more on The most important materials for improving learning in general (Ave, Beasley, and Brogan 2020).

As a useful presentation technique in the academy, the PechaKucha method has been studied in a variety of disciplines (see references below), including nursing, language acquisition, physiology, biological sciences, leadership, education, communications, and athletic training. The general consensus emerging from this latest research is: (1) Students learn at least through teacher-led PechaKucha conversations as through other types of presentations; And (2) Inform students not only that they are working harder on PechaKuchas as assignments but that they are also more engaged in the content they present in PechaKucha style.

This article summarizes the new research and discusses the potential advantages of incorporating PechaKuchas into your teaching and lecture system and including PechaKucha assignments for students in your curriculum.

PechaKucha for coaches

Faculty members can use PechaKuchas to appeal to “areas of interest and media habits of modern audiences” (Waisanen 2018, p. 82). The inference from this research – that students would be more focused on lectures if the presentations were given in the PechaKucha style – was confirmed by another study that found no statistically significant loss of comprehension by implementing PechaKucha techniques (Bakcek, Tastan, Iyigun, Kurtoglu, and Tastan 2020). In fact, research on PechaKuchas in the academy has long found that this technique increases student engagement and that faculty who implement PechaKucha-style presentations report increased energy levels in the classroom (Ave, Beasley, and Brogan 2020).

Implementing the PechaKucha strategy for at least some of the class lectures has the added benefit of opening up time in the class session schedule for more discussion, hands-on activities, and other active learning strategies that have been consistently demonstrated to enhance student learning (Ave, Beasley & Brogan 2020).

PechaKucha for students

Several studies have repeatedly demonstrated that PechaKucha tasks produce learning outcomes that are statistically identical to those obtained with traditional task categories, including regular papers and presentations (Ave, Beasley, and Brogan 2020; Bakcek, Tastan, Iyigun, Kurtoglu, Tastan 2020; Liao, Lewis, and Winiski 2020). As a result, it makes sense to give it a try, especially given the finding that students have greater satisfaction with those tasks than their equivalent.

In one study, for example, 71 percent of students reported that they valued the process of preparing PechaKucha presentations, citing the brevity of conversations and the degree of creative freedom afforded as factors in their satisfaction (Ave, Beasley, and Brogan 2020). Another study yielded 94 percent of responses recommending PechaKucha tasks be given in future versions of the course (Polin 2018). In an assumption beyond these findings, some researchers suggest that enhanced task engagement could also translate into gains in presentation skills and creative thinking (Ave, Beasley, and Brogan 2020).

However, because students may find some features of PechaKucha conversations challenging—notably the need to deal with each slide in just 20 seconds (Ave, Beasley, and Brogan 2020; Hirst 2016; Liao, Lewis, and Winiski 2020)—another study recommends “Consistent Dialogue” and transparent” about the value and benefits of PechaKucha tasks, particularly when used as formative assessments rather than summative assessments that help students learn rather than measure prior learning (Hirst 2016, p. 152).


“In general, students enjoy PechaKucha presentations. Although the highly structured nature is constraining, it can also be empowering” (Lucas and Rawlins 2015, p.106). Giving students the option to do something new and different, something they will also likely find attractive, is an effective approach to teaching, and adding PechaKucha-based lectures to your repertoire of teaching practices can further bring your courses to life.

Recommended resources

  • The official PechaKucha website offers great examples of PechaKuchas from events from all over the world.

  • This Ceri Savage article provides basic information on PechaKuchas and tips on creating them.

  • Kathryn Cronin’s article provides excellent tips and resources as well as examples of PechaKuchas.

  • A comprehensive overview of how to create a compelling PechaKucha can be found here.

  • This sample PechaKuchas Student Assessment Form can give you a head start in crafting your own assignments.

If you are interested in adopting PechaKucha Presentations into your courses and would like assistance or advice on design, assignments or lectures, contact Teaching Support at www.teaching.pitt.edu or at teaching@pitt.edu.

J.D. Wright is a teaching advisor at the University Center for Teaching and Learning. It can be accessed at jdw14@pitt.edu.

the reviewer

Abraham, Reem Rachel, Sharmila Turk, James Gonsalves, Sarish Naduvil Narayanan, M Ganesh Kamath, Jay Prakash, and Kiranmay S. opinion. 2018. “Adjusted Self-Guided Learning Sessions in Physiology with Pre-Reading Tasks and Pecha Kucha Conversations: Students’ Perceptions.” Advances in Physiology Education 42:26-31.

Avey, James S., Devin Beasley, and Amy Brogan. 2020. “A Comparative Investigation of Student Learning through PechaKucha Presentations in Online Higher Education.” Innovative Higher Education 45: 373-86.

Bakcek, Ozcu, Civenk Tastan, Emin Egin Pervin Kurtoğlu, Birthan Tastan. 2020. “A comparison of PechaKucha and traditional PowerPoint presentations in nursing education: a randomized controlled study.” Nursing Education in Practice 42: 1-6.

Hurst, Nikki. 2016. “Using Pecha Kucha as Formative Assessment in Two University Units: (Re)imagining ‘Correct Lines.’ Higher Education Research Practitioner 10 (1): 140-55.

Liao, Min Kane, Greg Lewis, and Mike Winskey. 2020. “Do students learn better using Pecha Kucha, an alternative presentation format?” Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education 21 (3): 1-4.

Lucas, Kristen and Jacob D. Rollins. 2015. “PechaKucha Presentations: Teaching Storytelling, Visual Design, and Briefing.” Communications Instructor 29 (2): 102-7.

Metcalf, Amy, Margaret F. Leighton, and Trina L. Joslin. 2016. “Three Ways to Improve Student Presentations.” TESOL Journal 7(2): 421-28.

Boleyn, Beth. 2019. “The Leadership Exploration Project: Developing and Analyzing Leader Definition and Persuasive Presentation.” Management Teaching Review 4(2): 119-137.

Waisanen, Don. 2018. “Using Pecha Kucha Speech to Analyze and Train Humor Skills.” Communications Instructor 32 (2): 82-86.

PechaKucha is a registered trademark of PechaKucha, Inc


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