Stories And Online Learning: An Awesome Pair
Stories and learning are intertwined. Storytelling as a means of imparting knowledge is as old as time itself. Fables and tales are a powerful mode of teaching – be it from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, Aesop’s fables, the Odyssey, or the Grimms' fairy tales. They have the dual power to entertain as well as educate.
While in the past most stories have been passed down the generations, orally and through script, the modern word of technology can support us today. In the field of eLearning, edutainment has made efficient use of storytelling to achieve immense success.
eLearning developers need to consider that most learners approach online learning with a different attitude. In a self-paced learning environment, they are in control of their learning. Not every learner group reacts in the same way, and pre-empting that reaction is important. While a strong, hard-hitting story might invite a lot of response, an excess would confuse the learner group; thus compromising on the objective of learning.
One of the most successful methods of teaching is to push learners into situations where they have to think, act, and decide. Combining stories and online learning provides learners with the opportunity to enact and respond to real life events, thus making their learning experience interactive and enthralling.
Why Stories And Online Learning Make An Awesome Pair
Here are some of the main reasons behind the popularity of storytelling in eLearning:
- Even the most reluctant of learners can be suitably engaged by inviting them to listen to stories and share their own experiences.
- This helps them understand the learning content and retain it for longer by remembering the stories – their characters, the events, and the moral.
- Learners get immersed in engaging real-life simulations through stories, which can mirror their common work challenges. This prepares them to deal with their situations better, leading to better job performance.
- New ideas or concepts can also be introduced through stories. The simple stories can make them more acceptable to the learners.
- Moving away from the simple concepts, even complex ideas or skills can be made more relatable and attainable, through stories.
- Stories can be designed to challenge the learners’ cognitive skills, evaluation and decision-making processes by making them think. When they think through stories, they can think in context and come up with suitable solutions that help them get through real-life challenges.
- Stories can also dispel myths and superstitions. They can open up the learners’ mind into a new way of thinking or working, making it the perfect tool for change management. It can encourage them to embrace new norms, practices, and methods that are a part of the organizational change.
- Ideas emerging from the stories are easily understood and can be immediately applied to the workplace – ensuring to keep the learning on track.
- Stories can be an interesting tool to convert bland technical content into easy-to-understand and user-friendly real life case studies.
- Other learning tools, such as text documents, can be made more interesting and learner-friendly by inserting the story element.
Storytelling is more of a strategy, than a methodology. As a strategy, it has to be worked out, keeping the learner and the course objective in mind. It is a strong tool in the hands of a smart designer! Learning and Development managers can achieve learning objectives by encouraging the learners to discover learning through stories.