The Power of Storytelling #OzLearn Chat

Kineo Pacific  will be covering the Power of Storytelling in this month's #OzLearn Twitter Chat on May 12th at 8:00pm AEST/ 10:00 PM NZST. 

OzLearn is Australia's first ever moderated L&D tweet chat. Members of the learning and development community - both in Australia and abroad, are encouraged to collaborate through this social network, to discuss the latest trends and hot topics every second Tuesday of the month at 8pm AEST. The OzLearn chat gives members of the community a chance to meet-up, chat digitally about the changing L&D landscape, and broaden their personal learning networks

Rachel Teasdale, will be joining Kineo Pacific for the OzLearn Chat on Tuesday May 12th at 8pm AEST, and has written the following blog post that will facilitate the discussion and topic for the twitter chat: 

The Power of Storytelling in Learning & Development

Once upon a time we would sit around the fire listening to the elders telling inspirational and cautionary tales, in the hopes that we might learn from others' mistakes and choose a better path for ourselves. Through stories we were taught how to survive, how to be brave and the importance of looking out for each other and the greater good.

Storytelling is part of our very being, but why should we tell great stories in our learning? 

Stories engage our hearts and minds; they provide cautionary tales and hope against all odds, deepen our sense of belonging and encourage us to strive to be better. Who wouldn't want that in their learning?

So What do Stories in Learning Look Like?

Great stories can be small scenarios, the basis of a game, or they can provide the narrative that threads through a single piece of learning, a whole series of modules, or an entire blend. 

When Writing a Great Story Consider These Components: 

A Hook - why should your learner care? Why should they be invested in the characters and cheer them on as they attempt to overcome obstacles? Use this to gain attention and draw learners into the story. In the best stories, we are introduced to a loveable hero or rogue who must go on a journey; who encounters conflict, often with themselves; overcomes obstacles, and in the end triumphs in the face of adversity. The stories that leave us cold are the ones where defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory or the hero gives up as the obstacles are too great. The aim when designing your hook is to introduce your learner to the hero, give them a reason to believe in the hero and hint at the adversity that lies ahead.

Authentic Characters – characters must be believable, if the learner doesn’t believe in your character they won’t cheer them on, help them succeed or learn from their mistakes. They won’t feel that the character’s journey has relevance to their own, and therefore they won’t believe that what is happening in the story could happen to them. How do we create authentic characters?  We create rich backstories to each of our characters, often only using the tip of the iceberg but we find that it helps us write great scenario options and background text as we are invested in our characters and who they are. In the past, there have been heated discussions in the office as we, the Instructional Designers, just don’t feel that ‘Regina Goldblatt’ would look like that / dress like that / say that! 

The Disney Moment - what is the moral of the story? What do you want your learners to do differently as a consequence of the learning? This is your opportunity to show learners the correct path and help them understand the consequences of their actions. Follow it up with a call to arms/ motivational speech and your learners will be clear on what is expected of them. A word of caution, be careful not to preach to your learners or they may reply ‘SHAN’T!’ a common phrase used by my friends and family when faced with a screen that tells them what they must do.

What now? Create authentic characters to hook your learners and bring your stories to life, and encourage your audience to learn from other’s mistakes. 

Collect your stories! All great stories have a kernel of truth, an anecdote, which is twisted and embellished as time goes on. I keep a story book locked away and when I hear someone’s work story, even when it is crazy or too good to be true, it goes in the book! When I need inspiration, I flick through my story book for inspiration, then adapt and embellish. So some words of warning… if you tell me a great work story, chances are it’ll get recycled and appear in a piece of learning in the future.

So what are some of your best stories (and worst stories) you've seen in some learning programmes? How can we make that shift from dry, unengaging content, to something that is Disney-worthy? It's time to share your thoughts during the #OzLearn chat on Tuesday May 12th - I look forward to tweeting with you!

About Rachel Teasdale: 

Rachel Teasdale is a member of the Kineo Pacific team, based in Auckland. With nearly 10 years' experience working in learning and development in the retail, education and public sector, Rachel has worked as an instructional designer, developer and advisor for clients such as Tourism New Zealand, Education New Zealand, and Number One Shoes, just to name a few. Rachel has made the transition from instructional designer to Solutions Consultant at Kineo Pacific, to work more collaboratively with our clients to identify the best possible solution to meet their needs, timeframes and budgets. Rachel is an active member of the Auckland elearning community, and you can catch her online on Twitter @rachteasdale, and at the 2015 eLearnz Conference in Auckland, July 22 - 23. 

Join Us for the OzLearn Chat

To follow this month's discussion and/or to participate, make sure to use #OzLearn hashtag and don't forget to follow @OzLearn, @rachteasdale and @kineopacific on Twitter.

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