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Stories as instructional design technique for e-learning

February 23, 2011

As it often happens, many threads are weaving together for me in ways that I didn’t imagine.

I’m building an e-learning course for a non-profit client and it took me a little while to flesh out the scaffolding for the course.  It’s currently a 5 day train-the-trainer program, and I was struggling with how to “convert” it to e-learning, but I have it now!  We  have developed a character who is going to lead the learner through the journey of preparing to facilitate the training.  We’re designing scenarios that this new person would experience, all through story form.  It feels like a really powerful method of design, which I owe to Cathy Moore (@CatMoore), who is really fabulous. Online anyway, I’ve never actually met her!

I am also dabbling with gaming ideas for a conference, which I hope to use social media to play the game.  We’ll see what evolves, timelines are getting pretty tight, so it may be lower tech than I had hoped.

I am also finding that the profiles @cliveshepherd has included in his New Learning Architect book are also stories that add a lot of context to the book.  Maybe it’s just me, but I find that such a powerful way to think about the content.  A group of us are doing a “Lrnbk” – you can read more about it on the blog: http://lrnbk.blogspot.com/ or via twitter on #lrntect.

I (like probably many of you) saw a link in my twitter stream, a game that seems to be sweeping the L&D world: Spent. This online game puts you in the shoes of someone who is struggling to make ends meet and each choice that you make has different consequences on your fictional financial situation, but many other lessons are layered in there, about nutrition, stress, health care…  Ironically, my 13 year old daughter came home yesterday with her new school assignment, which is based on the game of Life – they each chose a job, with a “salary” and choices of things that they could buy (houses to buy or rent, types of cars, etc).  Of course I sent the online game to her teacher, who was thrilled to use it to enhance the lessons she’s already using. 

I also read a post on The Bamboo Project blog, that was so timely, Michele talks about how her adult child is learning some hard lessons that life is not like school, it’s messier, unfair and unpredictable.  I am involved in our school district as a parent and as an advisor and these practical observations are very helpful to ground us when we start talking about constructivism and 21st century learning. 

Love it when my worlds intersect like that!

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