Tips for using stories in E-Learning

Illustration of six people connecting through stories in various digital interactionsIn keeping with the storytelling theme from our previous blog post; using storytelling for learning, we discussed how stories can be used for learning and what makes a good story. Often overlooked, stories are a great resource for learning. They are authentic, easy to remember and are a great way to describe an experience.

Storytelling itself is the oldest form of communication and for the majority it is the medium through which we can communicate meaningfully with one another. At Aurion HQ, we are avid fans of storytelling and in particular using stories for learning (not that you could tell!) We will soon be launching a new online tool called Storee that will change the way we tell and share stories.

It’s been proven that our brain organises information in story form, allowing us to connect and make sense of things. One of the first things we do upon meeting others is to share a story; indeed as humans, much of our communication is made up of stories.

What better way to ignite the learning spark than through storytelling?

5 Tips for using stories in E-Learning.

  1. Bin the lists and facts and transform them into stories. Many case study examples in learning, particularly those in the workplace often involve lists of do’s and don’ts. A better way of presenting this is to merge the learning content around a story. Be sure to include and utilise your subject matter experts as they are dab hands at creating stories from content due to their experience and expertise. The key to the success of stories in learning is to ensure that they are relevant and that the learner listening or watching the story can relate to it. In this way the lessons from the stories are more easily depicted.
  2. Dump the jargon. Within a storytelling context, ‘business-speak’ can sound a little trite. When we recall stories that we have heard, we remember stories that were told in a conversational tone, easy to understand and listen to.
    Studies have shown that the part of the brain that experiences emotions (known as the frontal cortex) does not react to overused phrases or figures of speech. Be sure to tell your story in a natural dialogue and one that doesn’t sound robotic.
  3. Introduce multimedia. With so many online applications available at our finger tips, it is easy to integrate your own videos, great images and audio into your story.  As the saying goes, a picture can be worth a 1000 words. The use of multimedia can really enhance learning and the story. If you don’t have a bank of your own images and would like to get creative and use free images, you can use the Creative Commons area on Flickr or stock.xchng. You can also use Compfight to help you search for photos that you can use. Remember to read the guidelines on proper attribution!
  4. Stimulate the brainResearch discovered by monitoring the brain activity of monkeys that whenever a researcher picked up a banana whilst being observed by a monkey, it had the same effect on the activation of neurons as when the monkey itself picked up a banana. Stories that are vivid and appeal to the various sensory cortices in the brain will increase neuro-engagement. This will have the knock on effect of making the story and the message behind it more memorable. Stories can be made more stimulating by creating dramatic plots, the use of music, expressive language and graphics.
  5. Appeal to universal feelings. Although the actual content and characters of a story may be from another universe all together, listeners get wrapped up in stories that appeal to basic social motivations and feelings.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the use of stories in learning or would like to be part of Storee Beta, please sign up.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

 

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