How to Give Your eLearning a Storytelling Structure

Once upon a timeThere are so many benefits of eLearning as a training delivery method, but as you’d expect there are of course drawbacks too. One of the myriad of challenges involved in creating eLearning content which is engaging for the end user is of course the actual delivery of your eLearning.

There is no one solution in overcoming such a challenge, but incorporating the use of storytelling elements into your eLearning delivery can make a massive difference to your employees’ learning experience.

By reframing your eLearning content into a storytelling structure, you’ll enhance the appeal of the very same content that perhaps they weren’t so interested in. With simple, inexpensive tweaks, your eLearning content delivery can shift from dull to captivating.

So just how can you give your eLearning the feel of a compelling story?

The Hook & The Big Reveal

You can’t expect to retain your reader’s interest for long, regardless of the topic – so whether you're conducting online sales training with a bunch of disengaged trainees who'd rather be "closing" or teaching holiday temps how to use a pos system, story or slide, you need a hook to capture the learner’s attention.

In delivering your eLearning content, consider opening with select interesting info such as statistics or revealing lesser-known facts and examples to engage your audience and help ensure their interest remains piqued throughout the introduction to your content.

Building intrigue to lead up to a memorable moment is also a well-supported tactic in common storytelling practice.

You can use this principle in your eLearning delivery as well – just make sure not to leave too much of your important content to the end, and use in combination with other storytelling elements too!

Deepen the Plot

Create a rich, more valuable learning experience for your employees by providing context to ‘deepen the plot’ and make the learning experience easier on the delegates.

Think about it: if you stripped a story down to its bare bones, how could you visualise situations, settings or characters? It’s the same with understanding new material – you need to supplement the important information with appropriate descriptive narratives and contexts.

Simply telling the reader the facts isn’t the most stimulating method of handing them the knowledge they need. The best authors allow the reader to interpret what is left unsaid, deepening the connection between the reader and the content.

Anecdotes & Analogies

Examples help provide context but using anecdotes or analogies add entertaining, personal and even humorous storytelling elements to your content, so this alternative tactic is well worth contemplating.

Don’t just use such tactics at will though; consider when the appropriate time to use anecdotes and analogies is, how frequently and whether you have a compelling, rich and relevant anecdote or analogy that will actually add value to aid the learning process.

Map the learning journey

Just like you would plan a character’s fate from their initial introduction to their eventual outcome, map out the desired journey you want your delegates to take:

  • What knowledge do my trainees need?
  • What are the prerequisites for each stage?
  • How do these relate and in what sequence would be most complementary?
  • Explore any other potential complementary content ideas to include in your delivery.

So there you have it – all it really takes is the ability to spot and create a story!

Of course, using storytelling to aid your eLearning delivery is a strategy to implement at your discretion; there are a huge range of factors for you to consider when making any of the suggested alterations to your current delivery.

Truly scrutinise every possible implication of making such changes, and only add storytelling elements such as the ones that I’ve described in this post to your eLearning content delivery if they are appropriate to your content topic, audience any other relevant factors of consideration.

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