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2 Great Story-Based Learning Examples to Create Engaging eLearning

December 26, 2017 | By Asha Pandey

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2 Great Story-Based Learning Examples to Create Engaging eLearning

Story-based learning seamlessly integrates narratives into education, making content more engaging and memorable. Since time immemorial, stories have been used to pass knowledge and wisdom through the generations. Employing stories for eLearning, also known as Storytorials, represents a well-established and creative instructional design approach that fosters relatable and engaging learning experiences. In this article, we explore its essence, benefits, approaches, and two transformative examples in professional skills training.

What Is Story-Based Learning?

Story-based learning (SBL) represents an innovative educational approach that seamlessly integrates storytelling into the learning process. This method leverages the power of narrative to engage learners, making concepts more relatable and memorable. It’s especially effective in eLearning environments where capturing and maintaining learner interest can be challenging.

Key Points of Story-Based Learning:

  • Engagement: Stories captivate attention, making learning more engaging and enjoyable.
  • Contextual Learning: Provides real-life context to theoretical concepts, enhancing understanding.
  • Emotional Connection: Stories evoke emotions, aiding in better retention and recall of information.
  • Complex Concept Simplification: Breaks down complex ideas into digestible narratives.
  • Memory Boost: Narrative structures make it easier to remember information.
  • Encourages Imagination: Stimulates creativity and critical thinking skills.

Integrating stories into educational content transforms traditional learning, rendering it more dynamic, interactive, and effective. Whether in classrooms or corporate training, SBL provides a refreshing twist to standard educational methods, fostering deeper understanding and engagement among learners.

What Are the Key Benefits of Using a Storytorial or Story-Based Learning Approach?

Story-based learning offers a multitude of advantages that can revolutionize the educational experience. These benefits extend across various learning environments, from classrooms to corporate training programs.

Key Benefits Include:

  • Improved Retention: Narratives make information more memorable by creating emotional connections.
  • Enhanced Engagement: Stories capture and maintain learners’ attention, promoting active participation.
  • Contextual Understanding: Real-world scenarios in stories help learners understand and apply concepts.
  • Develops Critical Thinking: Analyzing and interpreting stories enhances critical thinking skills.
  • Boosts Motivation: Engaging stories increase learners’ interest and motivation.
  • Cultural Awareness: Stories can introduce and educate about different cultures and perspectives.
  • Encourages Empathy: Through character experiences, learners develop empathy and understanding.

Why Use a Story-Based Approach?

Adopting a story-based approach in learning is beneficial due to its universal appeal and adaptability to different learner interests. Stories, with their diverse themes and settings, cater to a wide range of learning styles and preferences.

Key Reasons for Using Story-Based Learning:

  • Versatility: Stories can be tailored to suit any subject matter, making them versatile tools for learning.
  • Appeals to Different Learners: Whether a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner, stories offer something for everyone.
  • Cultural Inclusivity: Stories can represent diverse cultures and backgrounds, promoting inclusivity in learning.
  • Encourages Different Perspectives: Stories allow exploration of various viewpoints, fostering open-mindedness and critical analysis.
  • Emotional Resonance: Emotional connections in stories enhance learning effectiveness and engagement.
  • Adaptable to Different Ages and Proficiencies: From young children to adult learners, stories can be modified to match the learner’s age and skill level.

What Are the Different Types of Story-Based Approaches?

Story-based learning can be implemented in various ways, each suited to different learning objectives and environments. Understanding these types allows educators to choose the most effective method for their specific needs.

Types of Story-Based Approaches:

  • Case Studies: Real-life scenarios providing practical application of theories.
  • Role-Playing: Interactive stories where learners assume character roles to solve problems or make decisions.
  • Digital Storytelling: Utilizing multimedia elements like video, audio, and graphics to tell stories.
  • Narrative Scenarios: Creating fictional or semi-fictional scenarios to explore concepts.
  • Simulations: Immersive stories that mimic real-world situations for hands-on learning.
  • Anecdotes and Parables: Short, instructive stories conveying moral or educational lessons.

Storytelling Strategies to Use in Story-Based Learning

Incorporating storytelling into learning can greatly enhance engagement and retention. To effectively use this approach, consider various storytelling strategies that cater to diverse learning styles and objectives.

Key Storytelling Strategies:

  • Character Development: Create relatable characters to foster emotional connections.
  • Plot Twists and Suspense: Keep learners engaged with unexpected developments.
  • Incorporating Visuals: Use images and videos to complement and enhance the narrative.
  • Interactive Elements: Add quizzes or decision points for interactive learning.
  • Cultural and Historical Contexts: Use stories from different cultures or historical periods to broaden understanding.
  • Personal Narratives: Encourage learners to share their own stories related to the topic.

Best Practices for Story-Based Learning

Implementing story-based learning effectively requires adhering to certain best practices. These guidelines ensure that the storytelling approach maximizes its impact on the learning process.

Key Best Practices:

  • Align Stories with Learning Objectives: Ensure stories directly support educational goals.
  • Diversity in Storytelling: Incorporate a variety of stories to cater to diverse learners.
  • Appropriate Complexity: Match the story’s complexity with the learner’s understanding level.
  • Interactivity and Engagement: Include interactive elements to enhance learner participation.
  • Feedback and Reflection: Encourage learners to reflect and provide feedback on the stories.
  • Continuous Adaptation: Regularly update and adapt stories based on learner feedback and evolving educational needs.

How Can You Design a Storytorial or Story-Based Learning Approach?

Like a story, this Instructional Design approach can have a single narrative that connects all components of learning into a single fold or multiple plots (scenarios). All we need to watch out for is the fact that the story should uplift the way content is presented and it must be relatable. Else, it will not create the required impact.

Here are 2 examples that illustrate how you can create the required learner engagement, create a sticky learning experience and uplift the content by stringing it through a story.

Story-Based Learning Example 1: 

Learning Need: Ensuring information security was critical to the smooth functioning of a major international airline company, and fostering employee awareness about information security became a vital organizational requirement. Earlier attempts at training in this domain had not produced the desired results.

Our Solution: We created a course that addressed multiple objectives. The primary objective was to sensitize employees to the importance of information security and the implications of not following good practices. The secondary objective was to familiarize learners with good practices and policies regarding information security in BA.

The story that EI developed was structured as an investigation into an embarrassing security leak, providing the necessary immersion to keep employees engaged in the learning. While the approach did make use of conventional interactivity; we used this feature in consonance with the story component. Interactivity was primarily employed to encourage the learner to draw out the learning from the story even as it created learner engagement.

 

 

Story-Based Learning Example 2:

Learner need: This course is intended for advocates who support children in foster care. These children face long-term suspension or expulsion from school. The objective of the course is to help the learner (advocates) understand how to intervene early and effectively advocate for such children during a school tribunal hearing.

Our Solution: We have used a blend of a story-based approach with gamified elements. The learner could select an avatar that best represented them. The background was designed as a city map. Four children, representing four cases the learner would be advocating for, would begin from four different locations in the city. Each case corresponded to a module. Each module began with teach screens. Upon completing the teach screens, the learner’s avatar needed to conquer roadblocks on their way to the school along with the child in the respective scenario/case. At every roadblock, the learner would have to make critical decisions and take steps to effectively advocate for the child in question to help them stay in school.

 

 

 

Parting Thoughts

In conclusion, story-based learning represents a dynamic and versatile approach to education that holds immense promise for transforming the learning landscape. By harnessing the captivating power of storytelling, educators can foster deeper engagement, enhance retention, and promote critical thinking among learners. As showcased by the two examples presented, the integration of stories into educational content not only enhances learner experiences but also opens doors to new possibilities in instructional design.

Asha Pandey
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