“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
Information doesn’t equal learning and, as Albert Einstein once quipped, “education is what remains after one has forgotten what one learned in school”.
If this is true, then the question for learning and development professionals is this: How do I involve my learners so they remember their training after the learning experience is complete?
In the field of digital education, one of the most powerful tools available to course designers is storytelling. It doesn’t matter what medium the story is delivered through: video, audio, animation, illustrations, text on screen or any combination of these forms; a well-crafted and memorable story is likely to be remembered far longer than a series of facts, policies, instructions, or how-to guides.
Why? Well, the simple answer is this: We’re wired that way. Every day we relate experiences, conversations, memories and other life events through stories, both our own and other peoples’. We learn through stories and remember through stories. Stories are how we understand and make sense of our world.
Scholars, Schank and Ableson* write that “stories about one’s experiences, and the experiences of others, are the fundamental constituents of human memory, knowledge, and social communication.” In a nutshell, they argue that:
- Virtually all human knowledge is based on stories constructed around past experiences
- New experiences are interpreted in terms of old stories
- Stories form the basis of the individual’s ‘remembered’ self
For these reasons, online courses developed either around or including stories are particularly effective for bringing about meaningful behavioural and attitudinal change. By embedding information and concepts within narrative treatments, course designers can provide learners with multiple ‘hooks’ to connect new learning with existing knowledge.
So, if you want your training to actively engage your learners in a learning experience that is remembered long after their training is complete, you might consider involving them in a well-told story.
To see the power of stories in action, speak to your business manager about the response to our narrative based compliance program, The S.A.F.E. Files.
*Schank, Roger C. & Abelson, Robert P. (1995) Knowledge and Memory: The Real Story. In: Robert S. Wyer, Jr (ed) Knowledge and Memory: The Real Story. Hillsdale, NJ. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 1-85