Learners are not Engaged? Why?
June 24, 2016See Section F for Coupons
By Harry James
Las Vegas, NV– It started out as
just another normal day. Larry
the Learner had just sat at his
desk to embark on a learning
journey. A journey that turned
horrific within only a few
The result is unnecessary
incident that could and should
have been avoided by having
the right instructional strategy
coupled with the right content.
The news of disengaged learners was spreading…
Here, let me show you what I
think is the key element.
He then grabbed his typewriter to show me
the key element of instructional storytelling.
to happen. There
must be some
action, event or
moves the learner
from point A to
point B. Something
the learner cares
Ivan then grabbed his laptop to show me a
Story-based Research Ethics Course…
Let me give you another example
of how stories power
Action draws in the learner and
encourages further engagement.
Too often instruction is about the content
and not about interacting or engaging with
the content. It needs to be about what you
want the learner to do.
Make the learner do something
Answer a question
Identify a procedure.
Make a decision.
Solve a mystery.
Confront a challenge.
Pick a team.
Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics
Scott Freemana,1, Sarah L. Eddya, Miles McDonougha, Michelle K. Smithb, Nnadozie Okoroafora, Hannah Jordta,
and Mary Pat Wenderotha. PNAS Early Edition (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
Time for a recap with the boss…she looked a
little frantic…she wanted to know one more
I want to know one more
What story elements can
What game elements did we
encounter today that can
Researchers have found that the
human brain has a natural affinity for
Yep, People tend to remember facts
more accurately if they encounter
them in a story rather than in a list.
And they rate legal arguments as more
convincing when built into narrative
tales rather than on legal precedent.
Carey, B. (2007) this is Your Life (and How You Tell it). The New York Times. Melanie Green
http://www.unc.edu/~mcgreen/research.html. Chapter 2 “The Gamification of Learning and
Speer, N. K., Reynolds, J. R., Swallow, K. M., & Zacks, J. M. (2009). Reading Stories Activates Neural
Representations of Visual and Motor Experiences.Psychological Science, 20(8), 989–999.
When a person reads about certain
activities in a story, the areas of the
brain associated with those activities
The research found that different brain
regions track different aspects of a
story. If the character moved, the
corresponding region of the brain for
physical movement became active.
Story Type Goal of Story
Expressive Teach content or convey existing
Strategic Promote certain ways of working or
Reflective Captures complexities embedded
within a situation or points out
absurdities of a current state of affairs.
Transformative Describe a possible new future or a
new way of operating.
Alterio, Maxine & McDrury, Janice. Learning Through Storytelling in Higher Education:
Using Reflection and Experience to Improve Learning. Routledge. 2003.
Become a Story Connoisseur—Observe how movie
makers, television directors, and novelists craft stories.
Ask to Hear Stories—When debriefing a person providing
information for a course, ask for stories illustrating key
Ask Story Questions—Stories follow a structure, ask
structured questions around which stories are built.