Instructional Storytelling Series: PowToon

Technology: PowToon

Description: PowToon is a free web-based animation tool. It offers dozens of animation styles and templates to make even the most novice presentation developer look like an animation genius. The built-in objects and characters are pre-animated so all you have to do is drag and drop. Most templates include background music or you can import your own audio files, including voice-over.

Typical Use: Marketing, Business Communication, and Training Departments can use PowToon to illustrate a message more effectively than when using a bulleted list. Case studies include success stories from getting funding on a new business idea to simplifying a complex message for customers.

Ideas for Instructional Story: PowToon can be used in a variety of ways to carry out an instructional story. An instructional story involves a journey that starts with characters who experience conflict: a halted production line, an injured co-worker, an irate customer. Over time, these characters react to different situations using software, communication skills, a procedure, new equipment, etc. Within the context of the story, a number of various short messages can be used to further engage the characters (people you work with) in the story.

Consider these ideas:

  • Initiate a challenge that involves building a new skill set or new knowledge. For example, if success in customer service involves access to a robust database of knowledge articles, you can use PowToons’ secret agent template to send the team on a mission to contribute 10 articles to the database within the next two weeks.
  • Announce a new software feature. Sometimes formal training is overkill when the topic is a single new feature. Use PowToon to have a character show his excitement about how the new feature made an old task easier to accomplish.
  • Celebrate success. The people you work with are the characters in your instructional stories. Celebrate triumph by using PowToon to tell the story of how one person or a team executed on an important goal.
  • Encourage collaboration. Success in any company involves building relationships and working together. Don’t keep all the PowToon awesomeness to yourself; have people create a PowToon that introduces someone else. Spice it up by having them draw a name from a pool of people in another department.
  • Show the connections between corporate groups, partners, vendors, customers, or any other group that is otherwise out of mind for most people. Use a character that is on a mission to respond to a customer in a situation where other groups in the company have the needed answers.
  • Build the story background. Don’t just show new hires the corporate hierarchy; tell the story about how those roles came to be and how the people in those roles got there. You can even interview actual people, use a headshot and recording of the interview for voice-over in a PowToon that’s easily updated when those roles or people change.
  • Inspire continued success. Building habits and maintaining success over the long term is challenging. Use PowToon data templates to display any kind of stats showing the progress that has been made. Or use a business goals template as a checklist to show which goals have been met.

Because PowToon is so easy to use and it has so many templates that you can simply edit, PowToon is a great way to flood the organization with small, entertaining pieces of the story that contribute to overall instructional program goals.

Incremental Success is developing an instructional story of its own and kicking it off with PowToon. To be part of the story, view the PowToon mission file embeded below. Direct link.

If you want to participate in this developing story, sign up here. You will also receive status updates on the upcoming book on instructional story development.


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