Here’s some research around the effect of gestures on learning retention: even more important in the age of Teams and Zoom. The researchers distinguished between structural gestures (which put the learning content in categories in the air) and surface gestures (which seem to be smooth movements)
The team found that students who had seen the lesson with structure gestures scored significantly higher in inference tests. This suggests that physical gestures allocating spoken information into physical spaces helps students to better construct an organised mental framework of lesson material, from which they could make accurate inferences.
However, gestures aren’t a silver bullet for everything. Neither structure nor surface gestures improved basic recall of the material. Similarly, participants who saw surface gestures showed no difference in their inference scores compared to those who didn’t.
So gestures may not help students retain information, but they help them to INFER things, which is a different kind of learning. It’s also way more entertaining!
I’ve outlined a heap of other gesture-based information (from when I was regularly running Presentation Mastery programs):
- Voice, tone and gestures: plus first impressions
- Humour and gesture
- Satir Categories of Gesture
- How to look more popular
- More video on gestures
In fact gesture is a fundamental in presenting, holding attention and getting your ideas across and influencing others to change.