The other day I was supposed to meet my friend Linda. She worked in the IT helpdesk of a top MNC. We were meeting after about a year, and I was very excited. I was supposed to pick her up from her office at 6 p.m., and then we wanted to try the new Lebanese joint that was getting rave reviews.

I was wrapping up my work early, when I got a call from her at around 5 p.m. Linda sounded irritated.

Linda: “Hey, I am really sorry, but can we meet around sevenish? I have to finish this madatory online training at office. We got it last week but it completely slipped my mind. Today is the last date for completing it.”

Me: “That’s fine. Are you sure you can finish it in such a short time-frame?”

Linda: “Oh, I’m just going to flip through the pages and answer some questions at random. Who is going to spend time reading all those boring mandatory guidelines. As long as the tool tracks my completion, I am fine.”

Well, that might sound like something we all do once in a while. But it got me thinking.

Linda worked for a very reputed organization. Her job profile demands that she is aware of all the mandatory guidelines. Chances are that if she is not well-versed with them, her performance will be affected in a negative manner. Even then, she is not willing to take the training seriously. She found it boring and something that needs to be taken out of her to-do list.

So, how do we ensure that e-learning is interesting and keeps the audience motivated to go through it with an intention to learn?

One way is by weaving stories into the learning. There are many more tricks, but more of that later.

Why use stories?

Suppose, I started this blog by saying, “Story-telling is an effective way to make your e-learning interesting.” You would have thought ‘okay’, ‘maybe’, ‘how’, and many other things. But it started with a short story. Did that keep you hooked?

Good stories have the power to keep the learner engaged and retain information. When you hear a story, your brain behaves as if it were experiencing it. In fact, when you listen to stories, you use more brain power analyzing them. Well-written stories bring out an emotional response to learning and motivate the learner to perform desired behaviors.

How to develop your story for e-learning?

A good story should always have a structure. Let us look at the six steps of story development through a sample.

Step 1: Start with a state of stability

  • David, an American, is a successful professional who works for a major consultancy firm. He has been based across many locations in the US, throughout his 10-year career span with the company.

Step 2: Disturb the stability

  • David, an American, is a successful professional who works for a major consultancy firm. He has been based across many locations in the US, throughout his 10-year career span with the company. Recently, he was asked to relocate to the Indonesia with a new assignment. After a couple of weeks in the country, David found it very difficult to work on his new assignment. He complained to his manager that he was not making any progress on his project. His manager told him that the client has requested a replacement for David.

Step 3: Create an emotional reaction caused by the disruption

  • David, an American, is a successful professional who works for a major consultancy firm. He has been based across many locations in the US, throughout his 10-year career span with the company. Recently, he was asked to relocate to the Indonesia with a new assignment. After a couple of weeks in the country, David found it very difficult to work on his new assignment. He complained to his manager that he was not making any progress on his project. His manager told him that the client has requested a replacement for David. Throughout his career, David has never displeased a client. He was shattered to hear this from his manager.

Step 4: Take action to resolve the problem

  • David, an American, is a successful professional who works for a major consultancy firm. He has been based across many locations in the US, throughout his 10-year career span with the company. Recently, he was asked to relocate to the Indonesia with a new assignment. After a couple of weeks in the country, David found it very difficult to work on his new assignment. He complained to his manager that he was not making any progress on his project. His manager told him that the client has requested a replacement for David. Throughout his career, David has never displeased a client. He was shattered to hear this from his manager. So, both David and his manager decided to analyze what could go wrong.

Step 5: Reach a conclusion; could be a success or failure.

  • David, an American, is a successful professional who works for a major consultancy firm. He has been based across many locations in the US, throughout his 10-year career span with the company. Recently, he was asked to relocate to the Indonesia with a new assignment. After a couple of weeks in the country, David found it very difficult to work on his new assignment. He complained to his manager that he was not making any progress on his project. His manager told him that the client has requested a replacement for David. Throughout his career, David has never displeased a client. He was shattered to hear this from his manager. So, both David and his manager decided to analyze what could go wrong. After going through the details and talking to all the stakeholders, they realized that it was a culture expectation mismatch. David had an authoritative style of management. He did not believe in forging relationships. Whereas, the client belonged to a different culture who believed in being friendly and cool.

Step 6: End with an emotional response to the outcome.

  • David, an American, is a successful professional who works for a major consultancy firm. He has been based across many locations in the US, throughout his 10-year career span with the company. Recently, he was asked to relocate to the Indonesia with a new assignment. After a couple of weeks in the country, David found it very difficult to work on his new assignment. His complained to his manager that he was not making any progress on his project. His manager told him that the client has requested a replacement for David. Throughout his career, David has never displeased a client. He was shattered to hear this from his manager. So, both David and his manager decided to analyze what could go wrong. After going through the details and talking to all the stakeholders, they realized that it was a culture expectation mismatch. David had an authoritative style of management. He did not believe in forging relationships. Whereas, the client belonged to a different culture who believed in being friendly and cool. David realized his mistake and decided to make amends. He approached the client to sort out all differences.

If you follow these steps, you are sure to have a great story.

Articulate Storyline has a rich repository of templates that are ready-made. You could use them as is or customize it to build your story and scenes. Any template includes a lot of elements – slide objects, audio, video, animations, and triggers.