Tell me a story

I love this Woody Allen quote, “I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.”

I think there’s a lesson to be learnt from this about elearning. So often we hear that a module has to be short, condensed and concise. 50-80 words on the screen. People don’t like reading. All noble, all in my opinion sometimes true, but also sometimes wrong, and here’s why.

People like stories

Stories are great and of course they’ve been used in learning since the year dot. I think one of the main powers of storytelling is that you get involved. There are characters you can relate to, situations that you could imagine yourself in, and you ask questions – not aloud – but to yourself, ‘Are they going to make it?’ ‘Will they end up together?’ ‘How will they get out of this?’. In order for a story to work though, the situation and characters have to be developed, otherwise we have ‘a story that, like Woody Allen’s War and Peace, involves ‘data protection’, or ‘health and safety’ and doesn’t really go any further.

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