Why is Interactive Storytelling Important in eLearning

Unlike children, training adults can be a great challenge as over the years they gain from their experience, form their own opinions and expect interactive storytelling to be a part of learning. Besides, given their professional responsibilities, they want any training to be quick and efficient. 

Interactive storytelling is the perfect means to impart elearning to adults as it can pull them out of their comfort zones and motivate them to evolve to the current realities. Besides, it is designed in a way to resonate to the everyday life situations they face and so is extremely relevant and contextual.

What is Interactive Storytelling?

Storytelling is one of the most powerful means to influence, inspire and teach both children and adults. This is because it forges a connection between ideas and people, thus, creating ties that bind and strengthen relationships. Interactive storytelling takes this concept one step further. But first, what is interactive storytelling?

Simply put, interactive storytelling is a fun means to engage the learners by creating an interactive learning experience using storytelling as the basic building block to structure the course content. In sum, it combines the traditional narrative technique with visual arts and interactive elements with the purpose to draw in the learners to the digital environment, make them the main protagonist of the story and then carry forward the narrative to a logical conclusion. 

The story presents an overarching theme and the learners make rational decisions that shape the final outcome. 

Top Advantages of Interactive Storytelling in eLearning

Provides a framework to structure e-learning

Interactive storytelling in elearning or online training programs puts the learner in the center of the learning experience allowing them to trace their own learning paths, build the narrative along the way to reach a logical conclusion. 

It provides a framework which introduces the theme, sets the backdrop for the story to unfold, introduces the other characters and defines the role of the learner as the main protagonist in building the narrative while navigating through various challenges and milestones. 

The theme of any interactive story is to equip learners with the requisite knowledge or new skills that they need to improve theirs on the job performance. The problem is something that the learners will encounter in their jobs, and this forms the practical aspect of the learning experience.

 Employees are more motivated to learn if they know that the new knowledge or skill will benefit them in meeting or forwarding their professional expectations. The narrative around this central problem draws them into a simulated environment where do and learn. 

They learn to resolve the problem and this translates into a rich learning experience. The denouement concludes the interactive storytelling, providing closure with the realization of the elearning goals.

The interactive storytelling framework thus, allows the protagonist to view the problem from multiple perspectives, make certain choices and take actions to resolve the various conflicts, and in the process acquire new knowledge and skills along the way.

Contextualizes the eLearning Experience

Interactive storytelling in elearning is a means to put the learners’ work context as the central theme of the story. It mirrors the situations, the environment and the cultural context that the learners are familiar with. One of the major hurdles in adult learning is the resistance to change and the openness to adopt new behaviours. 

The setting up of context that the learners are familiar with helps to a very large extent break down the resistance and fear towards the unknown, enabling them on the journey to discovery. So for successful interactive storytelling, it is a good idea to take examples and case studies that the learners are familiar with and build the narrative around them.

Personalizes Learning Journeys

By its very nature, an interactive storytelling narrative puts the learner in the center of the learning experience making them responsible for how the story unfolds. The learning outcomes, therefore, vary subtly, depend on the learner’s prior knowledge, skills and behaviour patterns. Personalization should be your priority while designing learning courses. 

 To explain this with an example, with technology, you can add interactive elements such as branching scenarios to build the narrative and move it towards a defined learning goal. Such scenarios make it possible for the learners to make different choices that lead to different consequences. 

With the actions they take, the learners become more invested in the story, which in turn, piques their engagement and interest and motivates them to explore the road to successfully complete their journey. So the higher the level of interactivity in the storytelling, the higher the success of elearning.

Increases Engagement in eLearning

Successful interactive story-telling immerses the learners in the learning environment so much so that they completely forget the world around them. This is similar to reading a captivating book or watching an interesting movie. 

The only difference is that unlike books and movies, the central character is the learner who is not a spectator but an actual participant empowered with taking forward the narrative. The greater the immersion, the greater the engagement and deeper the learning. And deeper the learning, the greater the ability to transfer knowledge to the workplace.

You might also like to read: 5 Actionable Tips to Create the Perfect Employee Training Program

Builds an Emotional Connect

Whether it is children or adults, stories evoke emotions and a deep connect like no other medium. While there are no dearth of entertainment and recreational options in the modern world, people across cultures and geographies remain fascinated with books and movies for they have a story to tell.  

With stories, we can empathize with the situation, the characters and the emotions they evoke. The more relatable the narrative, the characters, the struggles, the achievements, the greater our empathy and our emotional bond with them. 

Successful interactive storytelling in elearning helps to evoke the same empathy and emotional connection with the learning objectives, creating excitement to explore new ways of action and leading to significant behaviour changes. 

Interactive stories thus take the learners from the real world into a virtual or simulated world where they can explore new learning without much fear of serious consequences. The immersive nature of this interaction results in greater assimilation of the training outcomes and transfer of knowledge to the workplace.

In Conclusion

Storytelling is one of the most ancient of arts and a medium to share information and guide desired thinking and behavior. Even in this modern world, they have not lost their charm or their ability to immerse, engage and draw a strong emotional reaction. 

While story-telling continues to allure, technology has taken it to a new level. What we have today is interactive storytelling in which there are no spectators, but each person is the protagonist with the freedom to build their own narrative.

 The modern workplace has adopted interactive storytelling to upskill their workforce, equipping them with new knowledge and bringing in them the desired behavioural changes. Interactive storytelling in elearning is weaved around a central learning theme and offers several areas of conflicts that resemble real-world problems.

Each learner is the hero who learns to resolve the conflicts with appropriate solutions, and thus, takes the story to its successful conclusion. This form of immersive and contextual experiences leads to deeper learning and the transfer of new knowledge and behaviors to the workplace.

To know more, please write to us at kitaboo@hurix.com

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Mike Harman

Mike Harman

Mike is the SVP Business Development at KITABOO. He has over 30 years experience in achieving consistent top-line revenue growth and building mutually beneficial relationships. More posts by Mike Harman