Friday, 23 March 2012

Learning Solutions #LScon: Aaron Silvers and Elaine Raybourn on Applying Transmedia Storytelling Techniques for eLearning and Training

Live from the Learning Solutions magazine conference. There are people you just want to meet, one of which is Aaron Silvers . He always gets my mind going, and this time he totally blew me away with his semantic learning insights.

He got me onto two great books: one by Gayle Moller: awakening the sleeping giant. A great book on helping teachers to develop as leaders. the other one by Gray, Brown and Macanufo entitled 'Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers' which is all about engaging people to share ideas and build upon them. For anyone looking for new group engaging formats, this is a book to read.

Aaron recently set up an interdisciplinary unconference to probe into the depths of educational reform necessities and future affordances. Now, when he talked about it I got illuminated by his ideas and passion. He used part of the gamestorming book, but completely fitted the formats for that unconference's, specific learning purposes (genius!). And he got me introduced to the word Obliquity, which is a - if I understood correctly - a word indicating achieving your goal indirectly, so leaving room for tailored serendipity (yes, wonderful).

So no wonder I just had to follow his session on transmedia storytelling and for those interested here is a post debunking some transmedia storytelling myths ! The program synopsis: A growing number of courses, devices, applications, tasks, and responsibilities compete for learners' limited attention. ELearning and training programs don’t need to compete – they can leverage multiple media to reach learners anywhere, anytime. Transmedia is a cutting-edge approach that can help with remediation and knowledge reinforcement. And this is what he talked about (in my paraphrasing words):

We have an emotional part of the brain, so we are geared up to react to emotions. The good part of storytelling is that you can exchange emotions. So you can position a message, so the audience can feel the message, that they can respond to the affinity the message evokes. We react emotionally first before we process the rational part of the brain. So this will enhance the message response in your audience.

iPad tool called ... framework for telling stories (finger-puppets). This puts in stages, props for children or learners on how to tell a story. This reminded Aaron of story telling and all the factors it has. In a story you need to capture interest through the actors, there must be some climax, resolution.

Joseph Campbell worked on archetypes. Archetypes make up part of the strengths of an audience.

Storytelling (like screenplay writing) has some fixed parts to make it stick. Elaine talks about story worlds. Start from your core message, what are the interactions, then move to the narrative (what is the story, what is the story arch), then think about the place/the context/the state of mind your audience is in. How can you compliment this all to put it together into a transmedia storytelling.

Storytelling can result in co-creation with your audience. It depends on the social media you incorporate in your learning/teaching interaction. When you put people together, you need to facilitate the interactions.

Star Trek conventions metaphor: people exchanging fan material in between them, yet that was never the purpose of Gene Roddenberry. The audience was embraced though, to allow them to do what they felt was meaningful on the subject of Star Trek.