Everything we do today is somehow digital-based. We often get news updates from the internet. We share photos on social media. Trending topics are discussed on Twitter. Bloggers opine and fill the minds of avid readers. Photographers publish their photographs online so the world can see their works of art.
Teachers are even more keen on digitizing their learning content. There are flipped classrooms everywhere, students bring their own device, classrooms from across the globe connect with each other using webinars, and more.
There of course goes, story-centric learning design. Teachers will oftentimes start delivering their lessons using stories as frameworks. They start crafting witty stories about a certain character, and make students relate to those stories, then share feedback and insights. Stories have always perked our minds and caught our interest, because they allow us to create an emotional connection. We always have that story that gives us an “aww” feeling, that story that makes us feel all sorts of emotions, whether they’re positive or negative.
Digital storytelling is another step in storytelling. The use of digital storytelling is widely adopted by most schools as a method of building a deeper engagement with students, as well as make them multimedia literates – a 21st century learning skill. Digital storytelling is similar to the traditional way – focusing on a specific topic. As the name implies, digital storytelling contains multimedia content – videos, recorded audio, images, etc. Digital stories pique student interest and capitalize on their creative talents as they maximize every resource to create rich and deep content they can use to create digital stories of their own.
There are digital stories however, which aren’t constructed as compelling as what the author might have intended. Sure, an author might have invested time and resources to create the perfect digital story, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. There might be a few miscues here and there. It’s avoidable, of course, so read on to know how.
Connect and relate your audience to the message
Students, and people in general, remember from a story the feelings of the underlying message. Digital stories have to be relatable and make the students feel like they’re the character and that they’re part of the story. You can create characters which relate to real-life student experiences and you can expect the oohs and ahhs from students.
Avoid overwhelming designs
The modern design language emphasize minimalism and content over chrome. Apple, Google and Microsoft are all implementing minimalism on their user interfaces. As a digital storyteller, minimalism should also be used. Students oftentimes get distracted by design clutter which makes them focus less on the story. You also have to avoid clustering wherein there is too much content concentration in one area. Even-out content distribution to keep learners engaged. Remember that less is more.
Use a realistic dialogue
There are stories which use dialogues that are too corny, odd and out-of-place and that throws the audience out of the story. According to amandalewan.com, pay attention to the in-story dialogue and quotes. Make it as realistic as possible, like relating it to an everyday conversation between two people.
Do the research
Crafting a story isn’t just for the sake of crafting one – you have to be an expert at what you’re trying to convey. Do enough research about the subject you’re authoring. This makes the story sound really convincing and grabs more attention.
Make sure your story has a good rhythm. Keep the story moving. Establish proper pacing for the story. Too slow and it’s boring. Too fast and the audience are left to play catch-up with the plot. For example, action-oriented stories normally have a fast-paced plot, while emotional ones have a slow pacing one. Also, know when to slow down or speed up the established pace to keep audience interest.
Craft dynamic and static characters
Let’s start with the dynamic character. This is a character who is changed by whatever’s happening in the plot, like a rags-to-riches kind of character, or a good-turned-bad person. The static character, meanwhile, doesn’t change despite conflicts and resolutions in the plot. The static character maintains the tone and makes things even for the plot.
Quality, not quantity
This mostly refers to the images used. There are students and teachers who, when they begin collecting and collating photos to accompany their story, are overtaken by emotions and tell stories with dozens of picture, and soon the story becomes a digital scrapbook. Of course this is not how it works. Limit your images to fifteen at most, depending on how long the story is. Choose the best photos to use with your story because they make stories even more engaging and convincing.
It pretty much depends on your taste on how you craft your story, but the main thing is, digital stories don’t need to be straightforward. Inject the fun and keep the audience interest flowing. You can look up the internet for best examples of digital stories crafted by some of the best minds here and there.
Do you have a digital story that you can share? Post them in the feedback section below!
Enzo is a marketing consultant by profession and a passionate e-learning blogger. He’s also a Microsoft Education Ambassador and an advocate for education, so his articles discuss e-learning not just from the insights of a student but also a from a teacher’s perspective, by leveraging his experience to deliver helpful posts.