Monday, October 29, 2012

The Learning Pro learns a story

As an improviser I'm very familiar with the power of storytelling to get a point across so here is a short story to share with you all.

Regular readers will recall that I recently won a seat on a class run by Ray Jimenez when he presented on Gamification. The class was on Story-based eLearning for technical and compliance training and I'm writing this blog on my way back from Pasadena having spent two engaging days at Rays session at CalTech in the Athenaeum.
I have collected my tweets and created a storify of them that you can take a look at them here.

But as ever I want to share my key learning points with you my loyal reader(s?)

Micro-LearningProbably my biggest take away from the session was the need to move to very small learning chunks. What Ray called Micro-Learning events. In the old days we could create full day or even full week live classes that our learners would come to. More recently with time pressures and globalization that has become harder and rarer. So we took those classes and turned them into eLearning.  If we were good we did try and turn those into smaller chunks. I heard that 30-40 minutes was what most people considered the realistic max for a self paced piece of eLearning. But that was when people all did their eLearning on a PC at there desktops.
As I have observed before one of the drivers for learning in 2012 has been the move to mobile learning. Now that's a game changer.
Because on a mobile device people will take any chance they have to take the learning they need. That could be grabbing a quick 5 minutes waiting a gate at LAX like I am now.  So now we have to chunk it even smaller.
And if you are restricted to a 2-3 minute chunk then you don't have time to work on lots of complex learning structure. You don't have time to dedicate a minute to stating the objectives if that could be 50% of your time slot!
In fact the only way you can really engage someone in a 2-3 minute slot is with a story.
So if you want to make use of the time then you need to be able to tell a story in that 2-3 minutes. Even that is a lot to try and cram in but luckily we have the learners brains on our side.

Complete and incomplete stories.Ray pointed out that we all know stories. All our memories are of stories rather than of individual facts, especially our most engaging ones. Those stories are complete in as much as we know what happened. There are other types of stories out there and those are the one where we don't know all the information. Ray called these incomplete stories and when faced with one of those the learners brain want to complete it. In fact the learners brain NEEDS to complete it. Instant engagement! So give the learner an incomplete story and two things happen. First off they start filling in the gaps from the stories they already know and then they look for confirmation that they got it right. And those stories that they already know are filled with deep emotional layers so our learners help us make an emotional connection to the material we want them to learn by plugging in their own deeply emotional pieces into the incomplete stories we give them.

For more information take a look at my tweets.

For even more go to one of Ray's workshops and creat you own story.

Happy Learning

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful summary of what sounds to have been an extremely engaging and thought-changing session--and it also works as one of those brief learning chunks that is at the heart of what you've written. Thanks, as always, for taking the time to make it available through the blog.