Sunday, March 9, 2008

“I’ve Been Robbed!” “I’ve Been Sexually Abused.” Emotional Events in Scenario-Based e-Learning

In preparation for an upcoming workshop at the eLearning Guild’s conference on Using Story Telling in Developing Engaging e-Learning in Orlando, Florida on April 14, 2007, I thought I would share with you about Emotional Events.

One of the main techniques in using story telling in e-learning is presenting the learner with a scenario and asking him to make a decision. The key element is to make it an emotional event.

I’ve been robbed.

One day you were walking with your family including your 3-year old daughter, shopping in a downtown mall. Abruptly you saw a man dashing towards you and your family. Behind him is an elderly lady lying on the floor shouting on the top of her voice in great panic saying “I’ve been robbed! Please help! I’ve been robbed. Please help.” Instinctively, you knew that man has robbed the woman. So what do you do? First, the hero in you tries to stop the man. Two, you put your daughter and your family aside to secure them. Three, you freeze, undecided and do not know what to do. What are you going to do?

I’ve Been Sexually Abused.

One day, one of your employees, a lady, approached you sobbing uncontrollably, really looking desperate, exasperated and completely disheveled. This employee has been a stellar, outstanding employee so you can’t help but be disturbed that she is in such state. You give her tissue paper, even your hanky, and she could not even start talking. Finally she settled down and tells you: "I’ve been sexually abused." You ask: “What do you mean?” The lady responds, “John had cornered me in the copy machine room. Then he literally pushed his body towards me and I had no way of getting out of it. He told me that unless I go out with him for dinner this weekend I would lose my job.” I don’t want to lose my job because this is my only means of livelihood and my kids depend on me. I didn’t want to shout and create any panic. Luckily, I was able to free myself and run and he left the room. But I feel so disappointed, so bad, and humiliated. I don’t know what to do. She continued to sob uncontrollably, you had to close the window of your room as well as the door.

What do you do? First, you ask her the facts and verify who the person is. For second choice, would you consult her- talk to her? Number three: you convince her that this is an isolated incident. Number four: you found out that it was a senior vice president who is involved and you yourself didn’t know what to do. What do you do if you were in the situation at the moment?

Emotional Events

These two events are what we call highly primal, highly emotional situations confronting us. Day in and day out we are confronted and we are presented with these events and scenarios.

I would argue that both and many other similar incidents create an emotional impact in us that it references our primal motives, instincts and reactions. Emotional events are not only metaphorical ideas but also a very actual approach to the event and the characters putting the individual in a situation with a high threshold of conflict and a high demand for emotional involvement.

Send me an email and share your stories.

Ray Jimenez, PhD
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

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