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Storytelling as design

Posted on: July 30, 2017

This is an unplanned part 3 of my notes and reflection on a talk on gamification. [Part 1] [Part 2]

In the two previous parts, I noted and critiqued the narrative element. Narratives in games, game-based learning, and gamification are driven by stories. Good stories depend on skilled storytelling.

So what does such storytelling look like?

I have shared the work of brilliant storytellers on Vimeo and YouTube many times before. Earlier this week I found a story told by British Airways (BA).


Video source

BA obviously wanted to sell its planes, service, and people. It did so with a story that focused on the relationship between the two main characters in the video.

Despite being a made up story, it was believable because the characters looked real. They were not movie stars and could pass for an actual flight attendant and passenger. The focus on the relationship between the two characters created an emotional link between the two.

The strong storytelling elements were believability and emotions. The same two elements could also be part of the narratives of qualitative reports, educational videos, or conference presentations.

A research study or lesson example could be contrived, but it must be real to the participants. To be effective, the intervention needs to elicit the emotions of the participants. Fail to do these and you succeed only in disconnecting with your learners.

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