Building a Case For Stories In Learning

Story Stakeholders

The value of storytelling for training may be difficult to quantify, but if stakeholders or management balk at story design, it’s necessary for instructional designers and other learning professionals to be able to defend the position of story design with evidence. So let’s work together to gather that evidence.

Here are two articles to get the conversation started:

Why You Need To Use Storytelling For Learning, by Connie Malamud

Why Is Story Telling So Powerful In Learning, And How Can You Learn The Skills, The Training and Development World

Post your thoughts on these articles and add links to other research you’ve done or personal experiences you’ve had that build the case for stories in learning in the comments below.

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13 thoughts on “Building a Case For Stories In Learning”

  1. Thanks for sharing, everyone! What a summer reading list. 🙂

    I’ve written an article that looks at the storytelling brain, connecting the history, philosophy, and cognitive psychology to what we intuitively seem to know: that we think and read the world through narrative.

    I’ll post up a couple of articles about analogical thinking, which primes learners to find an answer (once I relocate where those papers are).

    In the meantime, here’s my piece on our storytelling minds: http://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=61090

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  2. Thanks to all for the multitude of storytelling resources. As a storytelling novice, I appreciated the one article’s encouragement to practice, practice, practice the skills. I also appreciate the simple step by step concepts of relatable character, conflict, action. I will schedule time to review and integrate concepts from the resources shared into my storytelling efforts.

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  3. Wow, with all the good links shared in the articles and then in the comments, I’m a bit on storytelling information overload. But I’ll go back and absorb them all some more, bit-by-bit.

    A few years ago, I was re-designing some Safety compliance training (elearning). Talk about dry. For each of the three areas of security (building, personal, information were the areas, I think), I decided to tell three stories. Users only had to read through one of the stories to move on to the next section. I got lots of good feedback on that and even overheard a conversation a couple of months later referencing one of the stories. These days I would do an animated story as the basis for the whole course, but baby steps.

    I’ve been collecting a lot of good resources on storytelling, especially since I’m working on a business acumen 2-day course and am going to talk about storytelling as a communication skill for leaders. Here is one article (and sketchnote to go with it) that talks about why leaders need storytelling skills. http://qaspire.com/2016/03/07/leadership-connection-and-power-of-storytelling/

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    1. I loved this, Madelaine. Great example of storytelling, even without the sales pitch at the end. Thanks for sharing it!

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    1. FYI, if you select the second download link (at the bottom of the description), I think you won’t need to provide contact information.

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  4. These two articles are fantastic resources. The links provided to the other sites really took me into this topic at a much greater level.

    I love how brain research continues to support the need for storytelling to make learning sticky. The Harvard Business Review article, Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling is one I like to site frequently. Apparently many other people do too. It was a quick find in my Google Search this morning. https://hbr.org/2014/10/why-your-brain-loves-good-storytelling

    On a personal note, I reflected on how sports can also get you emotionally involved to the point of exhaustion. We identify with our teams and feel the ups and downs in a similar fashion. I think I will add that to my story journal. Never know when it might come in handy.

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    1. These are great resources, folks. Thanks. I was just reflecting how theory and instruction rarely lead to personal change until there is a “me too” moment of identification, and that usually comes through a story.

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