Monday, August 2, 2004

Which is More Compelling to the Learners: Facts or Stories?

Topics this issue:
1. Which is more compelling to the learners: facts or stories?
2. Featured Vignette:
“Control Freakszzzzz”
3. Over 10 examples of simulation, case studies and story-telling e-learning
3. lessons are presented

1. Which is more compelling to the learners: facts or stories?
In every learning experience there are two parts:

  1. the mechanical or factual information; and
  2. the organics

The mechanics are objectives, descriptions, procedures, methods, references and others. Organics are real-life stories, examples, anecdotes, illustrations and cases. It is easy to transfer the mechanics to e-learning programs because they are usually found in written manuals and documents. They are written by technical writers and are printed as participants' handouts.

However, it is common knowledge that what goes on in a training environment goes beyond facts. In fact, without stories and organics, the learner has difficulty learning. That is why the classroom trainers keep the training interesting, alive and engaging by effectively using stories and organics.

Unfortunately, in converting content to e-learning, many developers only migrate the facts as printed in handouts. They fail to migrate the organics into the e-learning format. The result is a disaster - boring and uninspiring e-learning programs.

So what is the crux of creating compelling e-learning programs?

Stick with the facts. But weave a story around them.

William Bernbach, whose Doyle Dane Bernbach advertising agency produced many of the most successful mass-communication programs in history—for Avis car rental, Volkswagen automobiles and other clients once observed:

"You can say the right thing about a product, and nobody will listen. You’ve got to say it in such a way that people will feel it in their gut. Because if they don’t feel it, nothing will happen, … and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly."

The same holds true in e-learning. Interest-compelling e-learning programs go beyond factual content and uses what Vignettes For Training calls the Organics Of e-Learning®—real-life anecdotes, examples, illustrations, and case histories—because:

  • People learn by assimilating and interpreting facts in terms of stories about them
  • Absent germane organic stories, people do not relate to facts
  • Learning works best when trainers and trainees swap organic stories with one another
  • Always communicate facts and build exercises through organic accounts and images

2. Featured Vignette: “Control Freakszzzzz”
To preview more Vignettes, please visit and register. Already a member? Please login.

3. Over 10 examples of simulation, case studies and story-telling e-learning lessons are presented.
In the
Blended e-Learning Workshop you will learn how to construct highly interactive exercises using organics and stories.

Check out the schedules near your area:

Ray Jimenez, PhD
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"