Story Telling in eLearning
Our cave-dwelling ancestors had the ability to communicate visually, using cave drawings to tell stories about their rituals or hunting escapades. Around 200,000 years ago, Homo sapiens emerged – at this point language was firmly in place. Nighttime conversation among San foragers was dedicated to recounting stories and myths which were then passed down by dedicated tribal elders. what this tells us is that storytelling is central to human beings; it’s our way of understanding the world around us – which explains why it’s proven to be effective in learning. In this article, we explore how you can use storytelling to bring out the strengths of your eLearning material.
Case studies are typically story-based accounts describing an event or scenario. There are two ways these can be used in eLearning:
The first way involves presenting the problem and the solution all at once in the case study. This works best when the learning material is first presented and the case study features at the end to illustrate how the theoretical knowledge they have just learnt applies in a real-life scenario.
The second way calls for more involvement from the learner’s side. You would need to present only the problem and this would then prompt learners to apply the material they have learnt. Both ways have the advantage of making the information more memorable; in turn, increasing the likelihood of them applying their newly acquired knowledge should they deal with a similar situation as in the case study. They’re an ideal learning tool and activity for learners as they help bridge the gap between theory and practice.
Sometimes text-heavy content just won’t cut it with our ever-dwindling attention spans. So audio-visual material, like videos, can be a great medium to tell stories in your eLearning. You can opt for the usual (and very effective) re-enactments or drama-type stories or kick it up a few notches with interactive videos. As discussed in our previous article, Interactive Videos: Making the Learner the Director, interactive videos put learners in a position where they have to think about their choices before they learn. They are also afforded the opportunity to make bad choices and see the consequences thereof – without any real harm done, of course. Because the learner plays such action in how the story plays out, they’re more likely to engage more with the material and in turn retain it for longer periods.
Animations for eLearning
Animations are a fun way to present information and even better for story-telling. The creative possibilities are endless – you can make your animation storey as whimsical as you need to and even exaggerate the visuals to make sure it’s etched into the viewers’ memory. For stories where you’d need medically correct visuals or those intended for raising health and safety awareness, you would need more realistic animations. 3D animations are best suited for this because they can even bring a shock factor by showing the consequences of unsafe acts.
In conclusion, humans crave connections with other humans – building experiences that support those connections help people learn, understand and remember your content. The easiest way to start building storytelling into your eLearning is to introduce characters and scenarios that require your learners to identify a problem and either choose or be presented with a solution. Kick traditional, text-heavy material to the curb and integrate storytelling into eLearning.
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