Storytelling - Part 1

Originally published 22 May 2020

Someone asked me recently where I seek inspiration for my e-Learning designs from. My answer was ‘everywhere’. It’s true! With my ‘Design Ideas’ and ‘WIP’ folders on my hard drive chocked full of stuff I can’t wait to get to, I often wish there were more hours in the day for me to see this inspiration through to design fruition.


Ultimately, I want to keep moving forward with my skills and continue challenging myself to design more awesome stuff than I ever have before – after all, my tagline is “Making e-Learning a better experience”!

So, when I start a design and think about what compelling visuals I’m going to use, I invariably think about how the visuals will tell a story…


Storytelling is defined as the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination.

Stories make people care. They excite and energise. They comfort and bond. They spread optimism and goodwill and take the audience unexpected places.

People are moved by emotion and stories help connect the audience to the narrative emotionally.

The neuroscience behind storytelling is real – in fact, our brain loves good storytelling! The explanation in the video below sums this up in less than 1 minute!


The format of a story has a profound impact on our learning because of the connection of cause and effect. Storytelling separates the remembered from the forgotten.

In the context of learning, we absorb stories more readily than facts and figures. Listening to stories helps learners stimulate critical thinking skills, capture complexities of situations and reshape knowledge into something meaningful.

So why would you not want to try and use storytelling for training? I can’t think of any good reasons why not – and lots of reasons why we should.

Have you had any experience with e-Learning design using storytelling? Or have you found an awesome e-Learning project that is designed around storytelling that you would recommend?

Broken Co-Worker is probably one of the most famous ones in the e-Learning industry – developed by Anna Sabramowicz and Ryan Martin around 10 years ago. Do you think this is more engaging than the standard click next type content-dump training?

storytelling for learning
Click on the image to view the interactive version

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.