5 Storytelling Tips For Instructional Designers: How To Capture User's Attention

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According to an ancient Indian proverb, those who tell the stories, rule the world. Fairy tales and parables carry the wisdom accumulated over the centuries. So why the information which is presented as some kind of story is easily perceived? The answer is quite simple. The learning process is usually controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain. At the same time our consciousness acts as a security system, which is opposes any changes. But when you listen to fairy tales, you activate the right hemisphere, which works with images. In this case subconsciousness perceives the information without going through your "inner guard". Thus storytelling is an effective tool for information transmission, which is based on the subconscious mind. This makes it an effective way to influence the listener. Storytelling is often used in marketing, advertising and e-learning.

How to create a story?

1. Come up with an idea

The idea is the foundation of any e-learning course. It engages users, motivates them and gives meaning to the whole project. For example, you can explore company's history taking a fascinating journey into the past on a time machine or walking through interactive museum halls.

2. Choose the character

Users do not want just to receive the information. They want to hear about themselves, to feel and to experience emotions. Character gives them such an opportunity. By associating himself with the character, users experience success and failure and are actively engaged in the learning process.

3. Write a storyboard

Ever since Aristotle's era all dramatic works are built according to Freitag's pyramid. The narrative begins with the exposition, in which a certain conflict occurs. Then goes the rising of action which describes the events before the climax. After that there are the events that occur after the climax and the last one is resolution, which describes the end of the story where the conflicts or problems are solved. Use this structure for creating your storyboard and your learners will surely appreciate that.

4. Make a conclusion

Each fairy-tale must have a moral, the message to the audience telling how to act in order to succeed. Make clear and simple conclusion. Try to avoid ambiguity and irony.

5. Use scenes from the real life

The story which you're going to tell in e-course should be associated with reality. Of course, you can send users to explore sales in space or in ancient Greece, but you should be prepared for the fact that they will accept such learning as entertainment only and will not apply this knowledge in practice.

Storytelling helps to present information in an interesting way, motivating students to learn. It could be used in almost any field of study, including the exact sciences. But if your audience is interested in getting the knowledge initially, the use of artificial drama loses its meaning. You should remember that storytelling is only one of many ways which help to organize the learning process. The use of it should prove its value according to goals of instructional design.

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