Storytelling Science, Techniques, Inspiration, and Examples

Intrigued with story as most of us are, I decided to start looking into how we learning professionals can use this powerful format more effectively in the learning materials we develop and deliver. My research turned up several articles on the Web about why story is important to learning, but little was out there on specific steps for developing more of an experience than a course.

The following list of articles are great sources of inspiration to help you enhance the effectiveness of your next learning project with story. I will continue to add to this list as I continue to research this topic, so check back or sign-up to the email list to receive updates (at the bottom of the page).


The 22 Rules of Storytelling, According to Pixar

This compilation of Pixar’s 22 tips on storytelling is a great source of inspiration for developing your story and making it memorable.


The Significant Object’s Website

The Significant Objects Site grew out of an experiment on how powerful story can be. The idea was to collect low- or no-cost objects and sell them on eBay with a story attached. Many of the items turn over quite a sizable profit simply because of the story about the object. Each object collected and sold provides the story used to sell and and the price at which it sold. While, as instructional designers, we may not be trying to sell insignificant objects, we are trying to sell ideas, skills, and initiatives that we need people embrace.


Why You Must Tell Stories, Not Dump Information, In Your Presentations

Here’s a story in Forbes about why story is more effective than fact-dumping. While this author’s advice on “How do you do it” uses the context of talking about product, he provides some inspiration on using story in your next project.


The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains

This article overviews research done on what happens in the brain when it hears a story.


The Role of Stories in Learning

Idea Learning Group provides some great ideas on how to get the story elements you need in your project. This article could be a great source of inspiration.


Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes - The Joy of Stats - BBC Four

In this video talented statistician, Hans Rosling, brings life to 120,000 numbers by building a framework that works as a sort of technical “story.”


Training Design Ideas from Cathy Moore

As long-time fan of Cathy’s work, I think you’ll find her site a valuable resource with topics like “How to steer your client away from an information dump,” “12 cool ways to use scenarios,” and “Are learners idiots?


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