A digital story for learning needs to be more than just entertainment. It needs to have a learning purpose and link to learning outcomes. Here are 10 steps to use when planning a digital story to ensure it keeps it’s learning purpose:
1. Decide why you’re using a digital story
Are you using a story to emphasise why this topic is relevant for your audience? Are you using the story as a motivator to pull them into the other activities in the course? Do you want your audience to learn from other people’s experience, through their mistakes or success stories?
2. Match the story solution to learning objectives
Does your story cover some or all of your learning objectives? Choosing the learning objectives the story relate to will help keep the direction and purpose of your story.
3. Plan the key messages or themes
What are the one or two things you want your audience to remember from the story? Is there a moral in your story?
4. Decide how learners will interact with the content
Will they be able to influence the outcome and path of the story (branching scenarios)? Will they apply the key messages from the story to a practice activity or job task? Will they be asked questions to reflect on the content?
5. Make a template for gathering content from your Subject Matter Expert (SME)
What characters will your story have e.g. customer, staff members? What environments does the story take place in? Use the 5W and H questions (who, what, where, when, why, how) at the different points in time to construct a template to gather content.
5. Write the script
Consider the tone and type of language used. If writing a script seems overwhelming, you can break the story into separate scenes and write a script for each scene.
6. Decide what graphic style you’ll use
Will you use photos or illustrations? Design a consistent theme for your story. Consider how much time you have available to develop graphics and then choose a style that’s achievable in the timeframe.
7. Prototype a scene of the animations and graphics that will be used
It is much easier to show your SMEs what the story will look like rather than explaining how it will look. Share a scene prototype with your SMEs to get agreement before developing the rest of the story.
8. Develop the story in the tools
Once you’ve got agreement from your SMEs on the script and graphic style continue and develop the rest of the story scene by scene.
9. Review the story
Check with your SMEs that the content is accurate and the intended key messages of the story come across.
10. Include what’s next…
Usually a digital story is just part of a learning solution. Tell your learners what’s coming next. Are they going to apply principles from the story to another practice activity or job task? What else will they do that’s relevant to the story?
Following these 10 steps will help keep your digital story focused and adding value to your topic. What else do you find useful for planning a digital story?
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