strategic storytelling in learning: constructing stories that engage and inspire
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On-boarding Things you should know Joe Armstrong Project Manager (E-Learning)
Strategic storytelling in learningConstructing engaging stories to educate and inspire Souraya Khoury
1Who are we?A leading workplace learning company that helps businesses improve their performance through learning and technology.Part of a powerful group with strong heritage and a proud historyOver 200 experienced staff, in 8 countries supporting over 200 blue chip clients.
Lead with learning & performance
We live to serve
We loveto share
Experienced & trusted team
Looking forward to the future
#2What we do2thElearning & online learning
LMS & Learning Portals
Consultancy & Training
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#3About you (3mins)Why is storytelling so effective? (10 mins)Key elements of a good story (10 mins)Frequently asked questions (10 mins)Questions (5 mins)
Agenda#Today well focus on the following aspects of storytelling:Well start by finding out if and how you are already using storytellingThen well move on to why storytelling works so well.Well look at the key elements to include when constructing a storyAnd finally well look at some how to tips and tricks in the form of frequently asked questions
Ive allowed some time for questions at the end of each topic as well as at the end of the webinar, so feel free to note these and send these through at any stage during the webinar, or even afterwards.
A final point to note before we get into it is to please keep an eye on the chat window on your screen. At certain points Ill be sharing examples of story-based videos which youll need to access via external websites. Access details will be provided using the chat window and the videos will only be available during the webinar.
Ok, lets begin5About you#Here we focus on learning a little more about how you use storytelling. 6Do you currently use storytelling in your learning?Let us know by selecting the yes or no on your screen.7Ok, well start with a quick question. Please answer the question by selecting yes or no on your screen. Ill give you 30 seconds and then well look at the results.
Ok, as you can can se from the results.For those who dont use storytelling yet, select from the options below to indicate why?Let us know by selecting the most applicable option from the following:
Im not sure when to use it.Im not sure how to construct a story.Im not convinced of its effectiveness.I just havent had the opportunity yet.Other.
8For those of you who dont use storytelling yet, please let us know why by selecting the option that best applies to you. If you select other, please supply a word or two in the chat window providing additional detail as to the reason you dont use storytelling.
You have 60 seconds to choose your option and your time starts now. (read question if appropriate).
Ok, time is up, lets take a look at the results. It seems like the number 1 obstacle in using storytelling as a learning tool, xxx, followed by xxx, well focus on that topic a little later in the webinar.Google trends data showing regional interest in digital storytelling
As indicated by the high turnout here today, were definitely picking up on a renewed interest in digital storytelling in the marketplace.
One of the ways to confirm this is to use google trends. As you may already know, Google trends is a great tool to assess the popularity of something based on how many searches for a particular term have been completed over time. The term I used for my analysis is digital storytelling and as you can see from the image on your screen, Australia is right up there in terms of how many people are accessing info on this topic. Interestingly, in recent years, overall searches for this term have increased 5000 fold.
Why the renewed interest? In his insightful bookWinning the Story Wars,Jonah Sachsmakes a compelling observation that with the emergence of social media, humans are going back to our storytelling roots. He maintains that in the broadcast age where digital communications were one-to-many and ideas were closely owned by their creator, storytelling took a backseat. As this era ends with the emergence of community oriented social media and smartphone technology, storytelling is making a comeback.
Next lets look at why storytelling works in the first place9Why is storytelling so effective?
#10Our brain processes stories differently than other messages
Broca and Wernickes areas process languageInsula and many other areas process meaning and link to existing knowledgeIn this section, well look at 3 main reasons why storytelling works. Well start by looking at how our brains process story-based information. Its quite simple. If we listen to a Powerpoint presentation with boring bullet points, certain parts in the brain get activated. Scientists call these Brocas area and Wernickes area. Overall, these are our language processing parts in the brain, where we decode words into meaning. And thats it, not much else happensWhen we are being told a story,things change dramatically. Not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated,but any other area in our brain that we would use when experiencing the events of the story are too.If someone tells us about how delicious certain foods were, our sensory cortex lights up. If it's about motion, our motor cortex gets active:"Metaphors like "The singer had a velvet voice" and "He had leathery hands" roused the sensory cortex.  Then, the brains of participants were scanned as they read sentences like "John grasped the object" and "Pablo kicked the ball." The scans revealed activity in the motor cortex, which coordinates the body's movements."A story can put your whole brain to work. But thats not the only reason they work.whenever we hear a story,we want to relate it to one of our existing experiences. That's why metaphors work so well with us. While we are busy searching for a similar experience in our brains, we activatea part called insula, which helps us relate to that same experience of pain, joy, or disgustassocaited with a previous experience. This serves to engage and embed the content into existing knowledge structures which facilitates longer term recall.This is why, were up to 20 times more likely to remember something if it was part of a story than if it wasnt. Peg C. Neuhauser, Corporate Legends & Lore: The Power of Storytelling as a Management Tool (1993)Pretty interesting stuff. But lets take a look at this in practice:11An example:Character-based stories used to help Medibanks customer-facing employees understand a new range of products.
Awarded best training video at LearnX 2014
A while ago, Medibank launched a suite of completely revamped product offerings and they approached us to help communicate this to their largely gen y frontline staff. We collaborated and decided to go with a character driven approach.
Alongside a facilitator character, (Dave) six illustrated customer characters were developed, built on market research, customer research and client consultation, to represent examples of target customers for this range of products.
Within the 45 minute module, Dave introduces these character stories one by one, and the correlating product knowledge training for the appropriate product, using an RSA style animation to paint the picture for Medibank's front line audience.
You can access a couple of the videos online using the information in the chat window now, so take a look at the first 15-20 seconds of each video for a character outline. Ill allow a couple of minutes for you to do this. Please raise your hand when your finished so we can discuss what made these characters so successful.
12To view the videosAccess the videos through the link provided in the chat windowEnter the password Storytelling (with a capital S)You only need to watch the first 10-20 seconds of each videoRaise your hand once youve watched the videoI will recommence in two minutes or once everyone has raised their hands.
Take a moment to review a couple of these character by selecting the link in the chat window. Youll only need to watch the first 10-20 seconds of each Medibank video and then raise your hand to show you youre done.13
Ok, so as youve probably seen in the videos, the characters were quirky and richly developed. My favourite is definitely Dave the snowboarder!
Regardless of your favourite, Im sure youll agree each character has a solid personality and is memorable. For most of us, they remind us of someone we know. We used these memory anchors and existing knowledge networks as a foundation to which we link the new product knowledge . Now dont worry if you dont remember the features of each product, Medibank learners were already exposed to all of the jargon associated with the products, so they found it much easier to take this information in, relate it to the customer characters, and remember it.
Were instinctively wired to tell and listen to storiesSo stories work because they activate whole brain processing which allows us to tie them to existing knowledge and ultimately increase retention.
They also work because we seem wired to tell them. When your colleagues ask you about a conference you attended or about how you spent your weekend, you dont start with facts and figures the number of people you met, the number of beers you drank or the amount of time you slept. You tell them stories.When you talk about your children, its the same thing. You dont say theyre 100cm tall and weigh