103 - Bringing Narratives to Life
Instructional designers and many others who design learning experiences need to use storytelling strategies in nearly every aspect of their job. But how do you make readers care about a scenario? How do you create characters that reflect the learner's challenges? How do you engage readers so that they hang on? These are questions that writers struggle with for decades, yet instructional designers are expected to just do it. Consequently, we churn out boring scenarios based on implausible plots and driven by characters who don't talk like real people. Why should learners care about the plight of a fake person experiencing events they don't recognize having unrealistic reactions?
Instructional designers are often challenged to use narratives to tell stories or create scenarios. But writing narratives with compelling characters is a separate skill from instructional design– and it's a skill that must be deliberately learned and practiced. In this session, you'll have the opportunity to do just that. We'll begin by defining what makes a scenario compelling and what qualities your narratives must have to hit the mark. Then, you'll engage in exercises on how to find inspiration for stories; whether that requires interviewing SMEs or mining your own experiences. Next, you’ll use a character-driven approach to developing a story, since we know that characters are often proxies for the learners. Finally, you'll employ tools and templates to build a character and then build a story that describes the journey between where the character is now and where they want to be.
In this session, you will learn:
- How to identify compelling scenarios
- How to interview SMES to get the information to need to tell compelling stories
- How to use the provided tools and templates to build characters in which learners can recognize themselves
- How to write stories as scenarios