Scientific data is usually presented as raw boring information. However, creative eLearning developers can effectively use these to add impact to interactive storytelling. Learn how to use scientific data in story telling like ‘The Tech and Science Behind Little Red Riding Hood’ featured in the American Scientific. __________________________________________________________________________
Watch the video ‘The Tech and Science Behind Little Red Riding Hood’.
In my experience as an eLearning developer, I regularly grapple with the dilemma of choosing which data to include or leave out in my interactive modules. Data overload can dampen the essence of storytelling. So, I don’t intend my interactive narratives to appear like a robotic encyclopedia mouthing figures, numbers and technical jargons.
We, the so called ‘creatives’, shun data like we would dirty linens. Story developers are wary of statistics, especially the scientific ones. We would rather focus on the essence of storytelling and forgo unnecessary technical information that could possibly bore the audience.
In storytelling, the storytellers simply say, “I am enjoying a hot cup of coffee,”
We don’t say, “I am enjoying a hot cup of coffee, boiled to a temperature of 90°C.”
Since scientific data is not part of everyday lingo, it could alienate elearners from the story once stats and figures flood our storylines. We don’t want our interactive stories to become classroom lectures. If used inappropriately, data becomes the major cause of distraction.
However, after watching ‘The Tech and Science Behind Little Red Riding Hood’, a video featured in Telling A Story…wait, what’s a “story”? by Bora Zivkovic published in the website of the American Scientific, I gained a deeper insight into interactive storytelling.
Like beauty, the relevance of data is in the eyes of the beholder.
As eLearning developers, we can actually turn the statistical information into a supplementary enhancement - an added dimension that can heighten the impact of storytelling.
In the article of Jen Christiansen entitled, Storytelling with Big Data: Thoughts on Visualized, the writer lauds those data visualizers who take the effort to ‘humanize’ data by changing their approaches and storytelling themes.
“I can’t help but wonder if in the relatively recent race to distance ourselves from fussy or decorative and nonfunctional chart junk, we have vercompensated, and ended up in a sterile place of displaying cold numbers, stripped completely of their stories. Perhaps on hitting that extreme, the emphasis is now on the injection of humanity into the numbers in a more sophisticated and meaningful way. One thing is for sure, there is a lot of inspiring data visualizers in the world doing just that, in very memorable ways.”In closing, I take on the challenge of how to further ‘humanize’ scientific data and use it in my interactive narratives. What did I learn from ‘The Tech Science Behind the Little Red Riding Hood’?
It is interactive storytelling at its finest. The video showed that Little Red Riding Hood is real and alive, part of a world with depth, measurement, speed, specifications and price tags. Do not just include scientific data in the story; blend or embed it with the story.
Using scientific data is one of the best ways to simulate real-life scenarios.
Read my related blog
Embedding Learning in Stories –“Lost Package” Vignette Featured.
Christiansen, J., Storytelling with Big Data: Thoughts on Visualized by Jen Christiansen,
Ireland, P., The Tech and Science Behind Little Red Riding Hood’
Zivkovic, B., Telling A Story…wait, what’s a “story”? By Bora Zivkovic
Ray Jimenez, PhD
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"