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How to get everyone on board with storytelling

Not everyone is immediately hooked on storytelling. To convince even the most skeptical, here are some tips for how to best write a narrative for e-Learning.

Tell a story. This is the goal of storytelling. In e-Learning, storytelling can be a great tool to engage learners and enhance learning.

Despite this, not all learners, especially those who prefer notions in their most basic state, fully appreciate storytelling. How to engage them? Here are a few tips to convince even the most skeptical to follow a narrative within a virtual learning journey:

1. A credible and recognizable story

In order to be compelling, learners must be able to recognize themselves in the story. This means that it is important that learners can identify with the characters (gender, age, ability, etc.) and the episode being told. In fact, the people who appear in the narrative must actually look like those who might be found in the workplace. This also leads to the creation of dialogue that is not bombastic and as close to reality as possible: the characters speak as real people and not as literary characters, and they address issues and problems that may actually occur on the job.

2. Linking cause and effect

Those who are skeptical about using storytelling in e-Learning usually don't like stories that are too far removed from reality and that stray too far from the objectives of the course. Therefore, rather than focusing on an intricate and surprising plot, it is preferable to find stories or scenarios that highlight how, in the course of the narrative, the protagonists (which can be the students themselves in the case of scenario-based learning) manage to overcome a situation through the use of skills studied during the course.

3. Gradual Narration

Don't immerse learners in the narrative immediately: a gradual entry is preferable to a grand one. Introduce the characters, generate interest, and try to connect with them. Try to pique their curiosity, for example, by proposing a problem that will then be the focus of the narrative.

Finally, don't forget to follow some basic rules of storytelling:

  • Use a logical and organized story structure;
  • Use a narrative that is in line with the target audience and their interests and needs;
  • Remember that storytelling can be done not only through text but also through images, audio and video that help create more engagement;
  • The story chosen must be relevant and consistent with the themes of the course;
  • Pay attention to details, they are what make a story believable.

In any case, remember that storytelling is not always the right strategy to engage users. Depending on the cases and themes, you may be choosing, for example, between the benefits of storytelling, the engagement of gamification or the effectiveness of scenario-based learning.

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