Storytelling - Part 5

Originally published 15 May 2023

In my last post in this series on storytelling, I posed this question:

“Is it enough to understand the goal of storytelling, how to build a narrative, and what elements to include to make sure storytelling is effective in the context of training – or is there more to designing truly effective training using storytelling?”

To answer this question, I’m going to pose another question:

WHY IS EMPLOYEE TRAINING SO IMPORTANT?

I personally don’t believe we can develop truly effective training unless we understand why we, as instructional designers, learning experience designers and learning content developers, spend countless hours developing workplace training, knowing full well that our audience will most likely be less than enthusiastic about taking the training. What’s the point?

So, after reading many, many articles on why employee training is so important, here’s my conclusion, which takes into account the research and looks at the bigger picture:

Within our complex, diversified working world, people are our most valuable asset… business success relies on people… smart organisations invest in developing their people… employee development shapes a more efficient, competitive and connected workforce… employees who feel connected work harder, stay longer and motivate others to do the same.

It’s that simple – or is it?

ENGAGE - INFLUENCE - INSPIRE

digital storytelling

So, we’ve established that if we want to be successful in business, we need to connect with and develop our employees.

In general, the main goal of employee training is to influence our audience, and change their current attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, and behaviour. The thing is, information alone rarely changes any of these.

In order to engage, influence and effect lasting change through training, it’s obvious we need to move on from ‘content dumps’ which simply pass on information. We need to reach our audience in ways that help them to understand, enable them to remember, and inspire them to act – I believe this is where digital storytelling comes in.

If you want to improve employee morale, motivate and prepare your audience for thinking in an innovative way, digital storytelling can do all of these.

Stories not only create a sense of connection between people and ideas, they convey the unique culture, history and values of a community or organisation that unite people and build familiarity and trust.

So yes, there is much more to designing truly effective training than understanding the goal of storytelling. But if your goal is to engage your audience, bring them along for the journey and influence them to adopt your vision, a good story will go a long way to painting a picture of what’s possible, helping them believe in possibility, and inspiring them to take action.

I’m going to leave you to ponder this topic, which I believe deserves a fair amount of pondering! If you have any thought or opinions, I’d love to hear them!