Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Heart of a Good Story

The heart of a good story for e-Learning has these characteristics.

One of the hearts of SBL is that of understanding what you call “organics.”

1. Human drama
a. Concrete stories about human situations
c. Felt and experienced
d. Continuous flow
e. Multidimensional vector
f. Natural and predictable

2. Reality-based
a. Derivative or common theme in films, TV, radio, print
d. Sex and violence, death and suffering, family relationships, friendship, emotions, love and hate, failure or success
e. Popular: love stories, espionage and success stories, rags to riches theme

3. Authentic
a. Real-life situations
b. Most important test: whether or not story has been told

4. Meaningful
a. Believable or credible, based on day-to-day human occurrences
b. Learners can relate to
c. Integrity: pure, unadulterated, no revisions and additions
d. Human-based concept

5. Feel and experience
a. Appeals to emotions
b. Puts you in an uncomfortable place
c. Makes you reflect on issues
d. Taste, smell, feel, visualize
e. Relates to your personal experiences or to others’ lives
Examples: being mugged; health problem; promotion; winning lottery

6. Continuous flow
a. Uninterrupted, like life's flow
b. Sequences allow one event or node to add to total meaning
Example: Two persons sharing near- death experiences with another person listening and asking “What did you do?”

7. Natural
a. Meaning of message goes beyond superficial
b. Story deep to touch individual
c. Relate to ourselves
d. True human conditions, based on actual human experiences
e. Emphasize meaning by showing contrasting examples of unreal and real stories
Example: (1) going bankrupt and feeling it is the end of the world for you and
(2) receiving an inheritance from a billionaire.

8. Multidimensional
a. Presented with different appeals on different levels
Example: 4 characters living different lives, so there are different points of view
b. Also, different levels of situations
Example: Termination of secretary’s job – seen from point of view of boss, of secretary, of her family

9. Vectors not linear
a. Not a straight-line event (linear)
b. More preferable, events shifting to another direction
Example: Manager taking different courses of action about an employee’s
continued employment, then being confronted with a “wringer” – the employee’s
terminal illness.
c. Can also be in different parallels, not just one direction

10. Unpredictability
a. Unpredictability of events add degree of anticipation
b. Something not scheduled to happen
c. Adds to suspense of story
d. Does not end as expected
e. Keeps reader sitting at the end of a chair wondering about story

Send email with your comments.

Ray Jimenez, PhD www.vignettestraining.com
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

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