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Mom Wasn't Always Right
By Rich Shadrin



As a child whenever I created havoc my mother would demand an explanation usually by saying…”and don’t tell me any stories.” Well what was not to be then certainly is the way to build now. We need to tell stories and in a 160-character ecology, getting the emotional content into learning or any communication is as vital as it is challenging.

Here are three considerations about stories:

1. In elearning, stories turn a linear chain of events or procedures into a personal narrative to draw in the learner. While weaving in checks for understanding there is no reason to believe a story will – as some suggest – leave behind critical information demanded by the project objectives.

2. Scenarios and simulations put learners at the scene and in a meaningful context to make the episode compelling. Great plots offer a learning designer the chance to add twists and turns, dramatic dialog and cliffhangers that ask learners to take chances – to fail in private to succeed in public.

3. Building a marketing approach or brand means connecting at the intellectual and gut level with an audience. To declare a company’s values, a heartfelt story can transmit more in a brief tale than all the elevator pitches and tag lines in all your ads.

Change Your Reference Point
Courses that are built with the conceptual foundation of PowerPoint are step-by-step and non-connected leaving little in the way of flow from one point to another. I believe projects that use television as a guide are storyboarded just like mini screenplays, are more naturalistic and therefore believable. To wrap instructional elements into these stories will inevitably resonate and stick with learners.

Of course, the challenge is that in a 160-character world, designers need to construct their drama with brevity. After all, one has to be thinking poetry or haiku’s, not War and Peace.



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About the Author

Rich Shadrin, Wonderful Brain LLC
33 Wileman Avenue
Walden, NY 12586
845-238-4555

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