Last updated: 26.11.13

Storytelling adds a new dimension to online learning

E-learning in the workplace can be made more engaging through storytelling and scenario-based training resources.

While accessing online materials is an innovative way of educating employees in itself, giving staff more flexibility and control over their learning, connecting with their emotions can help them to actually retain the information in the long term.

Everyone remembers a good story they've heard, and if that story is somehow linked to training, then workers will be more likely to recall the information they've been presented with.

Bosses need to give their learning materials more substance by introducing a narrative, so they are providing employees with a reason to continue working through an online presentation and capturing their attention much more effectively.

Instead of just throwing facts and figures at staff, tap into their emotions and make going through documents a process of discovery, rather than a chore. Make them want to read on, as opposed to skim their way through.

Why should the power of storytelling only be felt by young children, literature lovers and consumers of advertising? This unique grip that it has on people should also be put to good use in business training, where it can help staff thrive and even enhance their performance.

These stories don't have to be complicated - in fact, simple language is often the most effective.

What is particularly important is engaging with workers' thoughts and feelings, and encouraging these to come to the surface. 

Indeed, consultancy firm Zostera pointed out in a recent blog post for Training Zone that reflecting following training sessions is key to employees retaining information, as dealing with education emotionally makes them more likely to remember what they've learned.

But how should employers look to include a story? Well, training materials could feature a structured plot - a beginning, middle and end - as well as a connection to the organisational narrative and twists and turns to add elements of surprise.