Saturday, September 19, 2015

Kill Boring eLearning with Story-Based Lessons - Tip #80

In developing a small story-based lesson, it has to be short, snappy, succinct, easy to follow and effective in engaging learners and imparting knowledge.

Please preview this demo and then review the explanations below. This is only a small section of possibly several course lessons.
There are seven parts of the small Story-Based Lesson

1.  Relocate Traditional Learning Objectives

Most learning objectives are not well stated. They usually state the trainer's objectives rather than that of the learners' hence, they tend to be irrelevant to the learner's needs. They interrupt the learner. They cause immediate rejection of the content - "here it goes again, very boring topics." Relocate it to the top so learners can view it at their option and lawyers and HR people are happy they see it is there. 

2.  Start with a Real-Life Incident

Learners instantly relate to real-life situations. Our brains are wired to respond to stories; a lot faster compared to viewing a factual, theoretical or technical information. The first page should instantly grab learners' attention. Use the characters to have conversations showing emotions and consequences. Use first voice, vivid images and clean page design. No clutter. Focus on one idea in each slide.    

3.  Use the Story as the Title

By using the story as the title, we are quickly engaging the learner. The learner would learn the technical title as he/she goes through the slides.

4.  Emotional Flow of the Story

In the slides, start with the situation, then gradually move to the conflict -"My credit card was declined." Then present the slide with the Story Question.

The learner sees the incident then he/she encounters the conflict and now the decision point. 
5.  Ask Story Questions

Story questions are questions that invite learners to become part of the story.

This is different from factual or technical questions, which we tend to ask learners to memorize. Our focus in the Story-Based Design is on application questions and not memorization.

6.  Use Interactive Stories

We want learners to recall the facts with the aid of the story. We want them to be part of the story. This is the difference between Storytelling and Interactive Story. In storytelling we (the trainers) tell the story. In Interactive Stories the learners interact with the story.

7.  Embedded Content

The usual way of showing content is by telling and teaching the facts without the context. Learners forget them most of the time. One reason we have knowledge checks is to make sure that learners remember the content. In essence, we force them to learn technical information.

In the Story-Based Lesson we embed, insert, combine or fuse the technical content into the lessons. From the start to the end, within the story, the characters are talking about the content. The content is presented as part of the story hence, embedded.

8.  Policies and References are Repositioned on Top

Policies and references are positioned on the top as links. Learners can review them as requested and mentioned in the story. Contrary to the practice of converting long policies and procedures into dozens and hundreds of slides, we present them in PDF form. There is no need to "glorify" or add multimedia when the PDF can be read faster and searched easier.

Some of you may ask, "what if it is required by lawyers?" Then ask learners to read the PDF and you can still collect completion data by using some variables in your software.


How does Story-Based Design work?

It grabs learners. It is short, snappy and easy to follow. It is relevant. It helps learners to relate to the content in real-life and in meaningful ways and they remember the ideas you want to teach.

How does the Story-Based Design save you money?

By focusing on the content properly and isolating long readings into PDFs, you just cut your budget. We focus the learners on the main slides where the key ideas we want them to learn are located. Therefore, we prune long and tedious multimedia slides which are only a series of clicks and forward type of technical lesson.    

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

1 comment:

  1. The hard part of implementing this is that we focus on the content first and then, there is pressure to complete the product (no time for scenarios...) - so it becomes unmemorable information. Perhaps if we started articulating the context and the scenarios first we would put the pressure to finish-up on the content - resulting in better design and less content!


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