Why consider eLearning?
You need to teach people a thing or two…
The information is important, mandatory, heavily regulated. You need to ensure that the material is delivered clearly, consistently, and in a timely manner to many employees, regardless of their location and time zone. And, you need to prove that learning has indeed happened. You might consider the benefits that eLearning provides. Or, it may simply be the only option.
What does writing have to do with eLearning?
Writing requires an extraordinary ability to organize thought and present subject matter in a logical way. This skill is essential to eLearning because Learners are literally left to their own devices. With no instructor to present or clarify, there is no room for misinterpretation – the information must be clear. Those who create eLearning content, often refer to ourselves as “content curators”. We gather, organize and disseminate information. We boil down complex and abundant information into simple, more salient points. And, we present it in the best way that Learners will understand it, whether through storytelling, analogies, anecdotes, diagrams, case studies, experiences, guided practice, etc.
What’s the Storytelling Connection?
Typical eLearning courses rely on rote memorization – a passive tell then test approach that requires Learners to read something on Screen 4 and then prove that they remember what they read by responding to questions on Screen 6? Is this the best measure of understanding? Memorization, yes. But, deep learning, no.
For learning to occur, you have to move people, changing their outlook or behaviour. It can be done with words. Words are powerful, after all. When people relate to what you’re saying, making meaningful associations and applying them to their own circumstances, “learning” has likely occurred. Stories allow this to happen.
Stories are wonderful opportunities to relate to others whose experiences are similar to our own, to come to understand a perspective entirely different than our own, or even to experience what could happen if we did the opposite of what we should do – without directly experiencing the consequences.
We are inherently primed for stories – it’s in our DNA. A good story grabs us at the very beginning and holds us. It might begin with a punch, creating a sense that things are not as they seem, and that consequences are imminent. We crave anticipation; it keeps us invested. The reason? Dopamine. Our pleasure/reward system is activated. It is exhilarating. And, it creates an investment in what happens next. We love stories and there’s brain science behind it. Most importantly, stories are more easily remembered than other forms of information.
There is growing interest (and research) in how to formally apply storytelling techniques within a learning context. The reality is that storytelling has been an effective education tool for quite some time.