The Effectiveness of Storytelling in Enhancing Corporate E-Learning

For thousands of years, stories were the only means of passing on information between a person to another. However, over time more means of communication have been introduced.

For thousands of years, stories were the only means of passing on information between a person to another. However, over time more means of communication have been introduced.

Interestingly, despite the fact that technology has come a long way in making communication much more advanced and convenient, storytelling remains one of the most effective ways of communication, and evidently in enhancing corporate eLearning as well.

The question is, why does it work? It is mainly due to storytelling’s ability to engage people on an emotional and intellectual level. The manner of which information is disseminated through storytelling, relates to people on a deep level, affecting how they see themselves and influence others.

When it comes to corporate eLearning, it is proven that storytelling remains one of the most effective ways of engaging and teaching working adults. However, to make storytelling effective in corporate e-learning, trainers and employers need to find the right balance.

How to Leverage Storytelling for Corporate eLearning

Corporate eLearning in the past has largely been made up of spreadsheets and data, but that is not the way adults interact within a corporate context. Emotion is what moves people to take action, and the best way to connect with another person is by telling a story.

More so, stories appeal to adults of all profiles since they can simplify complex subjects. As such, there are various ways of integrating stories into corporate eLearning, some of the more commonly known ways are:

  • Organising information to ensure structured learning
  • Connecting the key aspects and help lead the individual through the learning process

Storytelling in corporate eLearning provides an opportunity for working adults to retain and recall information more effectively. Here are some methods to leverage storytelling in corporate eLearning:

  • Set a relatable context to the learners
  • Connect the learners meaningfully to the content
  • Drive action
  • Add dollops of interest in complex and dry material
  • Facilitate higher recall and better context retention

Unfortunately, several corporates are bent on presenting spreadsheets to employees hoping that they will get the skills required for the job. This has been shown to be an ineffective approach, of which at the end of time, becomes a waste of time and resources. The following examples will demonstrate how storytelling is effective in corporate eLearning today.

Illustrate the Context

Majority of the corporate eLearning courses are in text form, hence working adults fail to make a connection between theoretical data and the actual work they do. It is especially useful for heavily theoretical courses such as financial legislation which employees find more digestible when taught through stories.

Course creators need to include case studies into their course content, in order to make a connection between theoretical data and real-life scenarios. Although the case studies or stories are normally brief, they are effective enough to equip workers with better knowledge on ways to help clients, thus increasing productivity amongst other desired outcomes.

Frame the Context using Stories

Instead of using a story to illustrate a section of a subject matter, corporate eLearning trainers are able to weave stories and lessons together. The employee, in this case, can take on different roles in the story during the corporate eLearning.

For example, the Red Cross Event Officers training involves the trainee officer taking on the role of a protagonist and is taken through a day in the life of an Event Officer. With this interactive method of teaching, the trainee is able to gain more understanding of the different responsibilities and challenges faced during events.

This corporate eLearning takes the individual through various scenarios with branching quizzes that urges them to explore different options and see the outcomes and overall consequence of their decisions.

In addition to creating immersive learning environments, the course also consists of a part called the “interject”, where at set intervals, alerts the trainee via a ringing telephone, that prompts him/her to solve a problem within a 30 second time limit.

Such an interjection will encourage individuals to develop a sense of urgency. Depending on how they answer, trainees get to understand the most effective ways to approach different scenarios, subsequently minimizing the chances of failure.

Hence storytelling is proven to be an effective method of teaching, allowing for workers to retain as much content possible. In this day and age, traditional methods such as cramming large blocks of texts are slowly being phased out by storytelling, whereby content is easily explained and absorbed by the individual.

Teach the Stories

Methods of storytelling are not restricted to simply weaving a topic into a story, so as to teach through telling the story. Stories themselves have the inherent characteristic of being lessons in themselves. Hence, in such instances where a story is in line with a topic you intend to teach, it is better to adopt this approach as oppose to other more traditional methods of teaching.

In addition, stories have the power to bring text to life, with visual aid from videos or other forms of illustration. All in all, people get a more contextualized learning experience through; they are able to immerse themselves into the learning through simulations of real-life scenarios, which will prove to be essential in a corporate setting where mistakes are best minimized.

By using videos, corporate e-learning trainers can bring the stories to life, this highly interactive approach to teaching adds depth and clarity to the subject matter.

Storytelling is one of the most effective solutions to deliver corporate training in an eLearning scenario. Studies have proven that teachings that incorporates storying telling yield better results due to blending real-world context into the learning experience. Interest to note, some educators combine it with gamification, which may improve the overall learning experience.

To sum up, corporate training vendors ought to start integrating storytelling into the teaching, or more specifically, into corporate e-learning courses. If it rings true for children to remember a good story with a compelling narrative, then there is no doubt that storytelling will be an effective medium for corporate training for working adults.

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