November 2021
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TD Magazine

Oh, the Stories We’ll Tell

Monday, November 1, 2021

Make e-learning inspiring by adding relatable anecdotes.

Many L&D professionals know the power of storytelling and how it relates to adult learning principles. Use that knowledge to help stakeholders understand that incorporating stories into e-learning is effective, says Hadiya Nuriddin in "Power E-Learning With Stories."


For example, one of M. David Merrill's first principles of instruction revolves around demonstration and how learning can be enhanced by participants demonstrating their learned skill. E-learning modules using storytelling can show individuals how to apply strategies and skills and the expected outcomes.

To integrate stories into e-learning modules, Nuriddin encourages instructional designers to follow this four-step process:

Define. Determine what needs to happen to influence performance or change learners' behavior. Collect stories by asking employees open-ended questions about their experiences and challenges they have had to overcome.

Design. Create story-based interactions that support learning objectives. "A key difference between designing instructor-led training and e-learning courses is incorporating participant interaction into the learning experience," writes Nuriddin.

Develop. Bring stories to life with situations where characters exhibit emotions to which learners can relate. Create an appropriate environment that loosely replicates the one learners experience in the work setting, and consider ways to use multimedia.


Deliver. In the e-learning context, delivering entails distributing your course. To measure effectiveness, ask learners questions about the story approach and whether they were motivated by it.

These tips were adapted from the November 2021 issue of TD at Work. Learn more at

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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