Using stories in E-Learning

Everyone loves a good story and using storytelling techniques in your E-learning is a great way to connect your learners to the content and stir an emotional reaction to what they are learning.

How to tell the story in elearning

The connection between learning and storytelling is not new and you can harness this technique in the design of your elearning content; for examples of learning through storytelling revisit fairy tales and morality tales whose moral can be adapted to life.

A good technique in focusing your story is through storyboarding, which is a sketch of how you would want to organise the elements of your story. Storyboarding lets you map out where you might like to place interactivity, quizzes, video and audio — elements that will help the learner engage with the story and learn.

Remember adult learners like to know why they need to learn a new piece of information or a company policy, so mapping your learning objective to this will make the learning more memorable. Stories can persuade and motivate the leaner. By using real-life scenarios, or case studies, learners are able to apply their own experience to the learning which in turn helps them to achieve the learning objective.

You can create an effective storyboard through context, conflict, and character. Identify your elearning objective: learners may need to take the annual compliance training and HR wants to remind them of how not to breach confidentiality policy. Perhaps there has been an increase of lost or stolen computers due to work taken outside the office. Using context, conflict, and character, you can tell a story placing the employee in the centre of the story.

Context: Harry is working late and needs to finish the budgets on project X. He decides to take his work home but stops for a drink with some of his team on the way home, where his computer along with the draft budget report has been stolen.

Conflict: Harry has had his computer stolen, but choose part of the problem — what happens when Harry decides to take his laptop via a bar.

Character: Harry, the project manager.

Starting with a rough outline such as this will help you brainstorm key issues around compliance and confidentiality. Talk to HR and IT (in this scenario they are your SME’s) about the issues they face in such a scenario of theft. Most staff have one point or another have had to take work home and faced this issue of taking their laptop and work home, so using this scenario will be genuine for them and will also access the dilemma’s they have faced. The outcome will be an achievable objective for them.

Storyboarding this scenario will help you to consider the tools you can choose to create your story through elearning. Consider whether you could use an avatar, drop and drag widgets, audio or even video.

Mindmaps are often a great way to start the storyboarding process; there are also several storyboarding software options. Try storyboardthat — make the most out of the free trial offer.

Storyboarding will help you define the story for your elearning course, helping you to clearly define your learning objectives, and mapping them to an achievable and measurable outcome. It’s a technique worth considering when developing interactive, and engaging elearning for training.