Storytelling eLearning Example: Quick Method for Engaging Learners

There’s a Story in Your Training

When it comes to soft skills training, human behavior takes the spotlight and nuance infuses every topic. To help you make sure the right messages reach your viewers, we sat down with author and story designer Rance Greene to learn how he brings out the story behind the bullet points.

“eLearningArt characters and graphics make illustrating a story easy.”
eLearning Storytelling Example - Rance Greene
Rance Greene
Story Designer

Thinking Before Telling

Lots of learning programs jump directly into the material at hand, but there’s no guarantee learners will jump in, too. Rance suggests taking a different approach by starting with an illustrative story featuring characters that ooze distinctive personalities. Only after the viewer begins to wonder what’ll happen next does Rance pop in a couple of questions designed to encourage the viewer to reflect on and solve the story situation.

eLearning Storytelling Example - Thinking Before Telling
eLearning Storytelling Example - Characters and Graphics Deliver the Story

Characters and Graphics Deliver the Story

Rance believes stories are great because they are concrete – they’re about realistic people doing realistic things. Matching a story to eLearningArt characters and graphics turbo-charges the effect. For example, in Rance’s samples here, you can see how his use of simple background elements such as photo cutout laptops, desks, and chairs instantly embeds the story in a setting. Then, adding just a handful of character poses, he fully captures and conveys Pamela’s sense of wishing for more and Chris’s casual non-response to what she’s really trying to say.

Simple Stories Do the Job

Rance also believes that stories are efficient, and, boy, are they! Looking at this one small snippet, we can conclude so much about Pamela and Chris. We’re given a chance to develop a hunch about the motivations of each of them, and an opportunity to feel the challenges inherent in their mismatched conversation. In short, very few words get a lot across effectively, and we’re ready to stay with the story to see what happens next. And that’s what “engagement” is all about!

eLearning Storytelling Example - Simple Stories Do the Job
eLearning Storytelling - How to Still Deliver the Training Content

But Wait, I Gotta Deliver the Training!

Of course, real world learning programs do include material that needs to be covered, but as Rance says, “The ‘formal’ training takes place in the feedback, after the learner has already viewed the story, thought about it critically, and solved a problem.” As an added advantage, this approach provides the opportunity to tailor the learning moment to a learner’s specific response to the solve question.

Rance Greene is the author of the book, “Instructional Story Design: Develop Stories That Train.” To learn more about the book and Rance’s workshops, and presentations, visit the School of Story Design

Rance’s samples feature eLearningArt photo characters “Julie” and “Christopher” with our laptop and angled desk cutout objects.

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