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Storytelling and microlearning, can they coexist in an online course?

Catia Dos Santos
 Catia Dos Santos
02/10/2019: How can a long story and short content be integrated? The eLearning answer.
Storytelling and microlearning, can they coexist in an online course?

Storytelling is literally telling a story and this action has its origins in the mists of time and in every culture. Its function is not only to entertain but also to teach, to transmit a lesson by leveraging feelings, even if the recipient of the story is unaware of it. For this educational and emotional function, storytelling is often used to encourage involvement in online courses. As you can imagine, a story has a beginning, a moment of climax and an end that require technical time to be addressed. The new eLearning trends, however, tell us that the beneficiaries are all in favor of teaching tools that last very little. Microlearning, that is the micro-contents training sessions lasting up to 5 minutes, are always present among the eLearning trends. It seems then that an instructional designer must choose between a long content and a short content. Storytelling and microlearning can coexist in eLearning. Let's see how.

How to present storytelling in eLearning

E-learning storytelling follows the same dynamics as any story:

  • The main protagonist is introduced
  • You face a journey with obstacles
  • Obstacles are overcome
  • A new situation is created or the status quo returns

At this point the trainer asks the participants questions in the classroom or through remote exercises. To introduce storytelling elements into eLearning, just insert audio and image elements that help reinforce the course content.

How to present microlearning in online courses

Microlearning mainly takes the form of video in e-learning. The duration, in general, does not exceed 5 minutes and the principles to which it responds are those of simplicity and utility. You get straight to the point, providing easy-to-learn content in the form of:

  • Animations
  • Interactive videos
  • Short text content to download
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • Applications for mobile devices

The main advantage of microlearning is that it takes very little time to learn. The content can be used at the time of need, since it takes only 5 minutes to find an answer to your questions.

How to integrate storytelling into microlearning

If it is true that it is easier to remember a history of a statistic, it is also true that one does not always have the time to read a story and the tranquility to reflect on it. To foster learning, involve the beneficiaries and respond to training needs, the story of a micro-content story can be integrated:

  • Identifying a protagonist of a story or a situation that serves as an example to the students
  • By dividing the story into small modules of a maximum duration of 5 minutes and always leaving the suspense in the end to encourage the students to follow the next module
  • Preparing an animated video, a textual content or an online tutorial to tell the story or the modules in which it was divided.

This is why it is no longer necessary to choose between storytelling and microlearning, but with micro-contents it is possible to offer training modules that can be used in small doses and in full freedom in the form of a story about the beneficiaries and their specific problems.

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