How to maximize storytelling e-learning?
Setting up the story
A story is all about characters, circumstances, a problem to be solved or a challenge to be me. So, the story being told will have a beginning, a middle and an end.
Storytelling is of particular interest when developing an e-learning course. The evolving story must serve clearly defined, pre-targeted, sound pedagogical objectives.
The characters developed for the story should enable learners to recognize themselves in their professional context and elicit an emotional response. The learners should be able to identify with a character, a reaction or a question, project themselves into a required task or a behavior, or oppose what is asked and adopt the appropriate behavior.
To create this world where credible characters evolve, a thorough knowledge of the target audience and the context in which they are evolving is crucial. Otherwise, the magic won’t work, and the intended learning may suffer.
Aspects of the characters that will ensure a strong connection with the learners include: being sympathetic or unsympathetic, show similar or different values, arouse emotions such as empathy, curiosity or anticipation.
Creating a proper problem or a challenge
It would be a turn-off for learners to meet characters to whom nothing happens, or who go through a sequence of events without difficulty or conflict, or whose creativity is not called upon in any way to find solutions.
The problems staged will therefore be representative of real difficulties in the learners’ environment and will enable them to experience their resolution
The desire to problem-solve and the excitement this creates will increase motivation and commitment among learners, while transmitting the knowledge and skills targeted by the training.
Using engaging visual representations
The emotional connection and the human quality that are necessary for learning can only be sustained by well-written text, evocative and precise.
However, if the project’s scope allows it, using visual media such as illustrations, photographs or videos adds another layer and helps foster an even greater emotional and reflexive connection in learners.
Can a story be told using interactivity? Or course! Interactive quizzes and feedback can not only move the story along but is also a great way to provide relevant learning content.
Asking questions first, putting the learners, placing them at the center of the action and then confirming or correcting their assumptions, reactions and processes is an approach that is particularly well-suited to adult learners, and is in line with the principles of andragogy.
In addition to visually representing the characters, naming them – Carl, Maëlie, Josée, Ron – helps the target audience learn the skills, notions and abilities they need to improve their performance at work, and justify using storytelling as an approach in training.
Learners will remember what they’ve learned longer and better if they link content to stories.
A guy walks into a… Remember this one?