3 Tips To Effectively Integrate Storytelling Into eLearning

3 Tips To Effectively Integrate Storytelling Into eLearning
Summary: Looking for a magical tool to make eLearning more engaging, motivational, educational, and entertaining? Chances are that in your search for the new and novel you’ve overlooked a powerful learning tool – a tool as old as human history itself: Stories. Here is how to effectively integrate storytelling into eLearning courses.

How To Integrate Storytelling Into eLearning: Why Effective eLearning Tells A Good Story

Why integrate storytelling into eLearning courses? Well, think of the movie that you just had to tell everyone about, or maybe the book you couldn’t put down. That’s how powerful and persuasive a good story can be. And yet, storytelling seems to have taken a backseat in many eLearning courses. This is especially true of eLearning that relies too much on technology to enhance the learning experience. But as pointed out in an article on Psychologytoday.com, “Stories leapfrog the technology and bring us to the core of experience…”. It is at that core, the article explains, that people are connected to universal truths. It’s where real communication, collaboration, and creative thinking takes place.

What makes storytelling so powerful for eLearning is that it adds context to the content to make the material more relevant to the learner. The more relevant the content is, the more immersive the learning experience becomes. And that leads to greater learner retention and application of important concepts.

If your organization or eLearning company has been looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of your eLearning modules, here is a look at how to effectively integrate storytelling into eLearning and deliver a more powerful learning experience.

1. Know Your Target Audience

Storytelling in eLearning needs to be as seamless and natural as possible. In order to effectively introduce storytelling to your audience you must first identify and understand who that audience is. Doing so will help you to introduce realistic, relevant, and relatable situations, characters, and dialogues into your storytelling, all of which will help to provide proper context to make the story resonate more fully with your audience.

2. Include Key Storytelling Elements

What makes you love a movie or book? Chances are it is because they portrayed characters that you related to who were faced with a problem or conflict that they were able to somehow resolve. Character, conflict, and resolution are the essential elements of storytelling. And they must be included in your eLearning story to make it immersive and effective.

Fortunately, in crafting an effective narrative you don’t have to be Shakespeare. Just stick to the basics.

Your story will need a setting, and a setting similar to the workplace of the learner will make it readily identifiable and relatable. As for character, perhaps the characters in the eLearning story are much like the learners, and they face the same problem or obstacle that the eLearning module is intended to help the learners solve. In overcoming that obstacle, the characters in the story teach the learners what they need to do or know in order to overcome the challenges they face in their real-world situation. But what’s more important, the story, if crafted properly, will motivate learners to apply what has been learned. And that’s as powerful as learning gets.

3. Don’t Overdo It

Strong stories are often simply told. Using certain elements of storytelling –think surprise, suspense, humor, etc.– can work well to keep learners engaged. But other elements, such as multi-media technology, should be used sparingly. Any use of technology should serve the core objectives of the eLearning module. Flashy elements introduced for the sake of making the module more unique and entertaining should be avoided, as they tend to clutter the content and distract from the message. The goal is to make sure that every element used serves the story, which in turn serves the key objectives of the eLearning module. Follow that rule with your storytelling and you’ll be on your way to creating a powerful and effective eLearning experience for your audience.

Final Thoughts

Storytelling has always been important to our society, and as such it is only natural that it would be a useful learning aid in any situation. Incorporating these storytelling elements into your eLearning modules is one of the best ways to captivate your audience and educate in a way that sticks with them. Through providing this necessary context and entertainment through storytelling, your eLearning course –whatever its ultimate purpose– will be a more meaningful experience, and one that benefits both you and your audience in equal measure.

Want more ways to communicate effectively with your learners? Download AllenComm’s eBook about using marketing techniques when promoting your training to get learner buy-in.