Bringing Storytelling into eLearning
Stories have captivated us as a species since the dawn of man. Through stories, we have passed on traditions, remembered the past, and carried information across the millennia. And it's not just our ancestors who harnessed the power of stories, either. Stories still work to reach people which is why it makes sense for eLearning to incorporate stories into learning designs .Not all stories are equal, though, so here are five key fundamentals for infusing your eLearning courses with stories. This is storytelling in eLeaning. The following tips will help you bring out your inner storyteller:
#1. Know your audience.
The great American author John Steinbeck said it best in his epic novel East of Eden. "If a story is not about the hearer, he will not listen." Applied to eLearning, the stories you tell have to connect with your intended audience.
#2. Make the storyline and characters relatable and relevant.
Each and every character in your story should be relatable and relevant to the learners. The dialogues should be realistic, and the characters’ personalities should be familiar to the learners. Keep in mind that your story's characters are the vehicle through which you are achieving your primary learning objectives. While you can always include a bit of humor or lighthearted conversation between characters in your story to make it more realistic, it's always wise to ensure that you stay on-topic, so as to not bore the learners or inundate them with irrelevant information.
#3. Use a structure.
Nothing is worse than a disorganized story. A solid, logical structure is part of what makes stories stick in our brains. All stories share a few common elements. They include:
- A beginning or hook;
- Rising action where the central conflict emerges;
- A climax, or the peak of action;
- And resolution, where the loose ends of the story are tied up.
#4. Use high quality images to illustrate major plot points.
Get high quality images to visually represent core elements of the story and to draw the learners’ attention to key points that they need to absorb. When selecting your images, try to think outside the box and keep the learners’ emotions in mind. For example, if you are creating a story about a pair of characters who are trying to achieve a particular goal through collaboration, you can use more symbolic and inspirational photos to represent certain plot points rather than just using a photo of two people.
#5. Make your storytelling interactive.
Rather than simply incorporating lengthy paragraphs into your eLearning course, why not make your story interactive by making it a slide show or presentation. Learners can click through to access the next part of the story, or make decisions along the way that directly impact the outcome of the story. This can help them to see the consequences of their choices, and to determine the best problem solving approach. While this may take more time and resources to create than the traditional method, it can significantly enhance the learners’ experience and even make the eLearning course more engaging, effective, and memorable.
Why not give these tips for storytelling in eLearning a try in your next eLearning deliverable. I strongly believe that you will make your eLearning course more effective and you will deliver an entertaining eLearning experience for your learners.