eLearning Story Example Using Metaphors and an Avatar

An Interactive Avatar Can Drive Your Story Using a Metaphor

It’s fun to see interesting uses of eLearningArt characters. So when Melissa Dougherty showed us how she used the Paul character as an avatar in her course – and had him serving as an actor in a metaphor relating medical and business problems – we wanted to share this with you.

“eLearningArt characters have the most varied and realistic poses I’ve seen.”
eLearning Story Example - Melissa Dougherty
Melissa Dougherty
Senior Instructional Designer

A structured story approach drives home the lesson

Melissa uses the four-part Setup, Relate, Interpret, Apply (SRIA) model taught in Ray Jimenez’s Story-based eLearning Design workshop.  1: The setup engages learners through an emotional event (in this example, a business failing) 2: Paul asks several questions to relate problems the learner faces. 3: The learner interprets through choice and feedback. 4. The learner creates a plan to apply the lessons to their own business.

eLearning Story Example using Setup, Relate, Interpret, Apply Framework

A metaphor through characters and story creates a memorable experience

The lesson begins with a doctor on the screen asking about the health of your business. From there Melissa carries a metaphor throughout the learning experience that equates a failing business with a sick patient. An ambulance arrives with the business, it’s rushed inside the hospital, and there the doctors and the learner diagnose potential problems (and solutions) for the unhealthy “patient.”

Character as an avatar guiding the learning

Paul, the doctor, talks directly to the learner, asks questions, reflects, diagnoses, and gives feedback. A range of forward-facing talking/listening poses, poses with props, and reaction shots enable Paul to be used as an avatar.


Creating focus on character by fading background

This story is driven by the characters and emotion. The background, while important for the setting, isn’t the primary focus. Melissa emphasizes the characters and their expressions, as well as the dialog, by inserting a semi-transparent white overlay between the background and the other elements. 

Melissa Dougherty is a Senior Instructional Designer at Purpose Financial and a Lead Mentor for Vignettes Learning Story-based eLearning Design and Scenario & Story-Based Content Development.

Melissa’s samples feature eLearningArt photo character “Paul” and eLearningArt photo backgrounds.

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