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Stories transform learning experiences into exercises of interactive discovery.

What happens when a baby cries?

It learns.

Parents drop everything, come running and do anything to restore peace.

The simple act of crying becomes a memorable learning experience.

What happens when learners make a decision?

They tell a story.

The outcome etches into their minds an enduring concept: if I do this, that will happen.

Their mind organizes details, interprets the experience and wraps it up in a simple story stored away for use in future decisions.

Their story effectuates change.

Stories underscore principles, relate actions with consequences and, thereby, affect decision-making.

What do these titles bring to your mind?

Nothing about rabbits, wolves, or geese; but rather, actions and consequences.

So, more Aesop and less ADDIE?

Incorporating stories into learning experience design isn’t a matter of shoehorning.

It means understanding learners, content, and context.

What are learner needs and goals?

What is realistic and relatable to their experiences?

What are the core concepts?

When, where and how does change need to happen?

Understanding facilitates effective story design.

Understanding makes for a learner experience filled with discovery, recognition and lasting change.

Further Reading:

Rutledge, P.B. (2011, January 16). The Psychological Power of Storytelling. Psychology Today.

Shift E-learning. (2021, September 30). How Storytelling Can Improve Your eLearning Courses.

Pehrsson, S. (2020, August 25). Harness the Power of Stories for Great eLearning Design. Medium.

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Brian Harris

Brian Harris is the Chief of Design and Development with Brilliant Educational Services. He specializes in producing learning experiences and educational materials that are engaging, entertaining, and effective.