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Using Stories in E-learning

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Using Stories in E-learning

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” —Robert McAfee (An American theologian and activist)

We all grew up listening to stories throughout our childhood, ending up with strong and valuable morals. I am sure you must have heard that stories are the most effective tools for the purpose of learning. In fact, they are the ancient form of making knowledge more innovative. A very different kind of curiosity and enthusiasm is experienced by stories, where we are lost irretrievably. So how can they be involved in eLearning?

It has been proved that stories are powerful medium of inculcating the knowledge that motivate, influence and engage the learners. It generates an emotional connectivity with the learner. There are varieties of morals that can always be used as powerful strategy to make an incomprehensible content easy enough to grasp, provided the matter is suitable to the subject and appropriate to the learners. William Horton in his book “E-learning by Design” has discussed different stories and their flow – how they can be used to express concepts in a much simpler and interesting way. They are as follows:

Hero stories: These types of stories tell how an ordinary person overcomes obstacles. The hero stories are good for motivating the learner and illustrate how to apply the subject of learning. The flow of these stories follow the order given below:

  • First, we meet the hero and learn about the setting.
  • Second, the hero encounters a challenge and is stymied by its difficulty.
  • The hero then develops the strength that enables the hero to overcome the difficulty.
  • Finally, the hero profits from the experience.

The best example to relate these is “Spiderman”!

Disaster stories: Disaster stories vividly express the negative consequences of failure to apply knowledge. For eLearning we can use to make clear that application of knowledge and skills could have saved from disaster.The flow of this type of stories is as follows:

  • The hero predicts disaster.
  • The hero is ignored by arrogant superiors. Disaster strikes.
  • The hero then saves masses of people.

The example of this type of story is the movie “2012”.

Tragedies: Tragedies are precautionary tales like disaster stories. It focuses on the action of an individual, rather than on public consequences. Usually this type of stories can be used to explain the concept of sales training. The flow pattern of this type of stories goes like this:

  • The hero does good works
  • Some flaw leads to disaster and the hero regrets the flaw.
  • Sometimes the hero may recover and sometimes may not.

The best example of this type is the movie “Macbeth”.

Discovery stories: Discovery stories reveal how the storyteller gained valuable insight. It is almost similar to the hero story type except that the concept is of the story teller’s own experience. Discovery type stories are a great way to introduce new ideas. It makes the idea real and arouses curiosity. The flow of this type of stories is as follows:

  • The hero starts to accomplish a task.
  • He encounters a problem and is stymied.
  • The hero then becomes frustrated or encouraged.
  • Then the hero discovers an important discovery than the original task.

Example of this type of movie is “National Treasure”.

Love stories: The love stories reflect ideas such as “wooing and winning” and “happily thereafter” of two people. They might be odd to include in eLearning but can be used to easily communicate human relationships. These stories illustrate the importance of winning, loyalty, trust, respect, and commitment. The flow of this type of stories is as follows:

  • A meets B, A pursues B, B resists but gradually A wins B
  • A and B breakup because of silly mistakes.
  • A and B get back together and live happily ever after.

The example of this sort of stories can be “Twilight Series”.

It might be sounding really funny for a moment to use stories in eLearning courses but it is really an effective and active way to make the learners get involved in the course. If you know if other easy and interesting ways, please do share.

View Presentation on Storytelling - An Effective Training Method

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