Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Back to the Basic Techniques in Designing Interactive Stories for eLearning - Aesop, CEO

Storytelling is a powerful medium for transmitting knowledge and lessons. Make them part of the story – focus on INTERACTIVE STORIES. Using a popular Aesop fable, I share  this overview on how to develop scenarios for interactive modules. Here are also a few tips on how to make interactive stories work. __________________________________________________________________________

Image source: http://www.longlongtimeago.com/llta_fables_lionmouse.html

Be a child for even this moment.  Recall Aesop’s The Lion and the Mouse:

One day a lion was wakened from his afternoon nap by a group of mice scurrying all about him. Swat! Went his huge paw upon one of the little creatures. The mouse pleaded for mercy from the stately beast. The lion took compassion upon the tiny mouse and released him. A few days later, the lion became trapped in a hunter's net. His roars made the whole forest tremble. The little mouse whose life was spared approached the lion in the snare and used his sharp little teeth to gnaw the strong ropes until the lion was free.

In assessing this story as an eLearning developer, I see that The Lion and the Mouse have all the elements of a good story. Short as it is, the vignette has a beginning, middle, and end. Although the plot is simple it  has a good story line. Most of all, the story has conflict. And, yes, after the conflict comes the climax before the meaningful resolution.

From an eLearning developer’s perspective, this Aesop’s tale could be broken into several modules for corporate management organizational development. I see several eLearning scenarios which could be developed for a series of interactive modules.

The lion is a stereotype of a demanding and overbearing boss. He is one who bullies his team over the littlest mistake or the one who sets  unreasonable expectations. This is the boss who doesn’t know how to communicate but would rather pontificate.

The mouse is the typical employee who tries his or her best  to succeed  in the daily rat race. This mouse is the hardworking employee who fumbles from time to time.
An event triggers the outbursts of a dissatisfied boss.

The office feels the stress because of the tense situation.

The angry boss is on the verge of firing an employee.

The pleading employee asks for another chance.
Should the boss fire the employee?

How should one communicate with a boss lacking in communication skills?

What can employees do when they think that their boss is overstepping the boundaries?

What would you do if you were the boss?

What would you do if you were the mouse?

eLearning Development Corporate Lessons Values and Skill Based Modules
What interactive modules can be developed for bosses who need to be reminded of basic human and professional ethics?

What learning modules can help employees become more efficient?

What can top management do to help ensure a productive synergy between the ‘lions’ and ‘mice’ in their company?
Lesson for the Lion: Learn to tap the strengths of your direct reports.  Instead of complaining about their weaknesses, do something to develop their potential. One day, they could become an asset to your company.

Lesson for the Mouse: Stop being such a ‘mouse’. Act like a lion and quit fooling around. Whenever you make a mistake, do some amends and double your contributions to the company.
Leadership & Management

Effective Communication              


Conflict Resolution





As an eLearning professional, I take it to the next level by engaging my audience beyond storytelling: I make them part of the story. Our interactive eLearning lessons can bring out the lion from the vignette and make our learners feel that their bosses are actually holding them by their necks. 

In such a situation, what would you say? How should one react?

I believe that Aesop would have been an effective and excellent CEO. His tales are valuable references for eLearning developers who intend to create modules for corporate management.

Indeed, storytellers have a firm grasp of life’s complex situations.

Read my related blog

Creating Great Stories for eLearning

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

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