You are here

Reel Life - Episode 1: Plot, Storytelling, Dialogue (Part 2)

Michael Darden

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets: An E-Learning Discourse

Part 2:

Last time, we talked about plot and learning objectives. In this post, we’ll look at storytelling.

Storytelling is how the plot is developed and told. There is a saying among writers, “Show, don’t tell.” It means giving the audience information by showing a character’s character, what he’s feeling or doing or done. In Valerian, we are told that Valerian himself is a lady-killer and that he’s madly in love with Laureline, however we are shown nothing in Valerian’s actions that would even suggest that he’s a flirt or that his care for Laureline is more than a misplaced obsession. The things that are told and not shown are awkward deadweight that do little to endear or define the characters.

Like the story, your course content is how your learning objectives are developed and told. Telling a story, or e-learning content, gives the learner facts and only facts. While telling information can certainly have its place in movies and e-learning, in the wrong context, an info dump becomes bland, uninteresting, and unmotivating. Worse, it leaves the learner with knowledge but little idea of application. Nobody wants to sit through two hours of training that is a dull drag.

In contrast, teaching for action, alongside images and engaging infographics with relevant text content, gives the learner an opportunity to put things together themselves and encourages deeper learning. Learning friction, allowing the student to put one and one together on their own instead of being spoon-fed information, helps the learner to remember and understand better. In movies, showing proves the character through his own actions; in e-learning, showing proves the content’s real-world application, especially in scenario-based learning.

Consider this: Where can you move away from info dumps? How can you make the course content more engaging?

Resources:
http://usablelearning.com/tag/show-dont-tell/
http://www.syberworks.com/articles/documentation-and-elearning-part2-article.htm
http://www.leotrainer.com/tshow.pdf

Written By:

Katie Wincek