Author Philip Pullman wrote, “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” Whether it is our biography, a summary, or a page, or talking about life, art, or learning, storytelling is an essential skill. It is the most important element that you can include in your e-learning courses in order to engage the learner. Following are some tips on how to tell stories that your learners easily relate to.
Stories should emotionally engage the learners:
Emotions capture the learner’s attention easily. Stories contribute in the best way to emotionally engage learners and are they are eagerly listened to, understood, and remembered. Using scenarios and gamification in stories will engage the learner emotionally by triggering them on how to achieve their goals.
For example, recently, I came across a safety training course that one of my colleagues developed. The course begins with the short story of a technician in a manufacturing plant. It conveyed what that person does, how, and the likely consequences he faces during any physical or mechanical injuries. The learner was then challenged to use the skills learned in a gamified environment training to protect him and others from those injuries.
Dr Julie Taylor said “Without including emotion in the learning process, it is impossible to truly engage learners.”
Make it attractive from the start
Interact with your learners from the very beginning to build interest. Learners feel attracted when they encounter some interactive slides, videos, and animated screens. The instructional designer should design a story with all the possible visual interactivities that grab the learner’s attention. After introducing the theme and basic plot line of the story to the learners, the designers can progress with the detailed story.
Stories should motivate
Engaging and interactive stories motivate learners toward achieving the learning goal. Such stories add life to our content. Humor in stories works great even with the most demotivated learners. One key reason that stories are becoming powerful tools in motivating learners is by fulfilling the ‘R’ in the ARCS Model of Motivational Design (Keller).
Stories must be entertaining:
Try to create stories that are enjoyable and those that can be easily grasped, not ones that are dull and stereotypical. Be culturally and visually relevant to your learners. It is a general human tendency to enjoy listening to stories. The learners have fun while they learn through stories. Entertaining stories creates better retention of learning and makes learners happy and more receptive to e-learning; it even helps learners to get over learning fatigue and provides the needed context to learning.
Relatable characters, a realistic challenge, and interactive scenarios in storytelling engage learners effectively. I strongly believe that following these steps will really make your e-learning course more effective and efficient and leave the learners with an entertaining experience as well as an enriching one.