The FCBC isn’t just interested in promoting storytelling because it helps kids to read. Psychology studies have shown that storytelling in many forms is emotionally and intellectually enriching for children. It can be a way of helping them deal with real life situations. They encounter frightening things in a safe environment and learn more about the world. They learn empathy and how to understand the conflicing motives of those around them.
That’s great, but what about adult learners? Surely stories are “kid’s stuff,” and won’t make the same impact for grown-ups?
Don’t you believe it! All human cultures tell stories. Telling stories is so universal to the human experience that psychologists suggest we’re hard wired to learn and share information through storytelling. As social creatures, we seem to latch onto topics which engage our heart and not just our head. It’s why gonzo journalism is so popular. It’s why plenty of people with a rusty grasp on international politics know the details of a war that took place in an Empire a long time ago and a galaxy far, far away.
Elearning and Stories.
This is good news for compliance or procedural training situations. They are inherently context based, in contrast to more abstract academic learning. Solving problems in the real world doesn’t just rely on knowledge. You may have to examine multiple points of view, experiment with different approaches, arrive at a consensus with others or deal with the impact of making a wrong choice. It’s the kind of emotional and situational complexity you can find in a good story. Storytelling also provides examples of the relevance and practical application of learning: something which theorists like Malcolm Knowles and John Keller suggest adult learners crave.