Monday, October 9, 2017

Using Data to Tell a Story and Deliver a Lesson - Tip #152

Data means nothing if trainers do not use it or even look at it.

Data visualization expert Stephen Few said, “Numbers have an important story to tell. They rely on you to give them a clear and convincing voice.” Any insight worth sharing is probably best shared as a data story.

If an insight isn’t understood and isn’t compelling, no one will act on it and no change will occur.
Making Sense of Data: Uncovering Key Insights

Four important questions to ask:

  1. What do our workers need to know? (Standards)
  2. How are we going to train them? (Instructional Delivery)
  3. What are we going to do if they do not know it? (Remediation)
  4. What are we going to do if they already know it? (Extension)

Making Sense of Data: Communicating Key Insights

Throughout time, storytelling has proven to be a powerful delivery mechanism for sharing insights and ideas in a way that is memorable, persuasive, and engaging.

When you package up your insights as a data story, you build a bridge for your data to the influential, emotional side of the brain.

People hear statistics, but they feel stories:

  • Memorability - Help in the recall of facts. (See more tip)
  • Persuasiveness - Increase transfer of emotion to readers and listeners. (See more tip)
  • Engagement - Assist in call to action. (See more tip)
Data Stories Influence Learners and Drive Change

When narrative is coupled with data, it helps to explain to your audience what’s happening in the data and why a particular insight is important. Ample context and commentary is often needed to fully appreciate an insight. When visuals are applied to data, they can enlighten the audience to insights that they wouldn’t see without charts or graphs. Finally, when narrative and visuals are merged together, they can engage or even entertain an audience. It’s no surprise we collectively spend billions of dollars each year at the movies to immerse ourselves in different lives, worlds, and adventures. When you combine the right visuals and narrative with the right data, you have a data story that can influence and drive change.

Data remains a compilation of statistical information that will not hold meaning for learners. However, facts, information, logistics and other data forms that are merged, embedded and made part of a story that learners/workers can relate with are drawn to bring about the much desired connection that results in higher engagement, better learning and meaningful application on the job.


Brent Dykes. Data Storytelling: The Essential Data Science Skill Everyone Needs

Related Tips

Tip #17 - Converting Obscure eLearning Content into Usefulness
Tip #39 - Employing Story Structure and Dynamics to Engage Different Learners
Tip #41 - How to Weave Hard Facts and Emotions into your eLearning Lessons
Tip #131 - Is Your Lesson Like the Sinking Titanic?

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

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