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Why Storytelling is so Powerful for Learning

02 feb 2023

Let us rewind back for a moment to reminisce the teachers and professors we’ve had throughout our lives. Who do we remember better – those who taught precisely in terms of the textbook, or those who presented concepts in a more interactive manner, using elaborate examples, sharing anecdotes and scenarios? For most of us, the answer would be the latter. And that is not just because they were more fun and engaging, but rather that they were great storytellers. Let’s explore the power of storytelling and why we at Storyals have built our whole e-learning around it

The Power of Storytelling

According to research (Dan & Chip Heath), after a presentation, only 5% of people remember statistics, but 63% remember stories. It is definite that stories are naturally engaging, but this is just one of many reasons why storytelling is such an enriching tool in learning. Stories spark our imagination and tap into our creativity, while leaving an imprint on our memory. As you may know, our brain is divided into two parts – logical and creative – each being stimulated when we engage in activities that involve logic or creativity, respectively.

 

The power of storytelling lies in the fact that it engages both the logical & information-driven side, as well as the creative & imaginative side of the brain, thus reinforcing the process of learning.

 

As we learn how our brain responds to stories, it becomes seemingly obvious why storytelling is so powerful for learning. 

The Science of Storytelling


So, what’s the difference between simply acquiring information, and learning through storytelling? 

According to neuroscience, learning and retaining learned information is linked to a chemical in the brain called dopamine (also referred to as a ‘feel-good hormone’). Dopamine is released when we are rewarded, i.e., when we do something that elicits a positive feeling, such as having a delicious snack or belting out our favorite song, for instance. It activates the brain’s reward center, a collection of structures in the brain that help increase our motivation and interest in activities.

Dr. Martha Burns, a neuroscientist, and leading expert on how children learn has clearly illustrated the scientific basis of learning through the following statement – 

 

“I like to refer to dopamine as the ‘save button’ in the brain. When dopamine is present during an event or experience, we remember it; when it is absent, nothing seems to stick"

 

This ‘save button’ according to Dr. Martha Burns, would be triggered when the information learned is new and exciting, hence it is definite when learning occurs through storytelling. The addictive nature of dopamine (which is also released upon consuming drugs), can be beneficial to learning in means of enabling the learner to develop a craving to learn – that’s one craving you’d want for sure!

Learning doesn't have to be boring!

As human beings, our brains are wired to learn, we thrive when we learn new things. Unfortunately, e-learning has a reputation of being extremely dull and unengaging. But learning doesn’t have to be boring!  We developed the story-based tutorials to be a more inspiring and motivating format of e-learning, that would, in turn, help encourage learning in the flow of work. And let’s be real here, not everyone is intrigued by new technology and the latest updates in the tech world. The extensive digital tools used in the workplace today, and modern ways of working can get frustrating for many. The proven method we use for the Storyals Training, leveraging storytelling, is designed to bridge the gap between new tech and the people using it. The identification factor helps people absorb the information more easily and the real-life situations and context show where the apps can be useful. We've added an example from one of our story-based tutorials below so you can see how we apply storytelling in all our courses. 

 

 

You can see more previews of our story-based courses here.

Change in general can be tricky, even challenging – and that’s okay. As humans, we are hardwired to oppose change; we prefer consistency, or to follow recurring patterns, rather than disruption of the same. Yet, in this time of age, being open to change is a necessity. The world is constantly evolving and the way we work must adapt to it. Digital learning through storytelling, makes this transition a little less hard and more enjoyable. It's an inclusive way of getting everyone on board the digital transformation journey. 

If you'd like to read more about how we create our story-based tutorials and courses, we wrote a blog about that too! You can find it here.

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