Useful Tips For Storytelling In Online Learning

Useful Tips For Storytelling In Online Learning
Summary: Storytelling is a powerful tool to help online students remember concepts and feel more engaged at work.

How To Use Storytelling In Online Learning

Storytelling has become an essential part of teaching and learning and can be especially effective if used in online learning. When students are taking online classes, it is easy to feel isolated from human contact, and the facts and figures on the screen can start to blend together. Through storytelling, you can give your students the connection that they are missing and bring those facts to life. Here are 3 ways that you can use storytelling to improve your online courses.

1. Use Storytelling To Make Your Students Feel Emotion

We, as humans, are naturally caring beings, and when we hear or read a story, we relate to the main character of the story. Stories can tap into students’ hearts as the main character overcomes obstacles. Your students are more likely to remember the emotions they felt rather than the actual figures in the story.

By using words, colors, and images, you can evoke emotions in your students that will stick in their memory when they later think of the lesson taught. This is a tactic that Animal Planet employs in their show's brand guidelines by using their images to cause their audience to feel certain emotions. For example, a shade of white is used to communicate purity while a deep red is used to communicate danger.

2. Use Storytelling To Show Application

Let’s say that you are teaching your students about the proper way to file their taxes. Taxes can be an exceedingly dry subject and difficult to follow if you just focus on the equations and numbers. By creating a hypothetical situation about someone who needs to file their taxes, those equations become more than just numbers on the screen, but an actual situation. Your students will see how they can apply those equations to their situation for when they also need to file their taxes.

The application helps your students see the real-life uses for the things they are learning and gives them a reason to keep working hard to master the practices taught in your online course.

3. Use Storytelling To Help Your Students Remember

One of the most disappointing responses from a student about a course you have taught is that they don’t remember or didn’t learn anything. If your students don’t come away with lessons they have learned and remember them, then the whole course was a waste of time.

Our brains are wired to think in stories, so when we hear a story that evokes emotions and helps us see how the things we are learning are applied, then it is easier to remember. Students may not remember every detail (in fact, they probably won’t) but they will remember how they felt during the course and the most important details.

Not only will storytelling help students better remember what you are teaching them, but they are also more likely to share what they learned. Giving you free marketing.

Some Storytelling Best Practices

Storytelling done well can be a powerful teaching tool, but it can also be a distraction if it is executed poorly. Remember a few things when you are adding storytelling to your curriculum:

Keep It Simple

The details in the story should contribute to the overall point. Any details outside of that will detract from the lesson. Keep sentences short and concise, so they are easy to follow.

Use Accurate Vocabulary

When speaking to young students, it's tempting to use simple words, but failing to use the exact term can actually be more confusing. Instead, take the time to teach what a new vocabulary word means and then use it regularly throughout the lesson.


The more specific you are, the more relatable the story becomes. For example, a student who is having a bad day doesn't evoke as much empathy as a student who forgot his homework and tripped and fell at recess.

Give your students the best eLearning experience possible by incorporating storytelling into your curriculum. No matter what type of eLearning you are creating, whether for school, work trainings or self-improvement, storytelling will make a difference. With stories, your students will feel more motivated to learn about the materials, better remember the things taught in the courses and better apply it to their work.