Webinar: Power of Story with Dr. Jonathan Peters, Chief Motivational Officer of Sententia Gamification

Key Takeaways from this 12/5/18 Webinar:

1. A story is at the most basic level, just “cause and effect”. This is how we get superstitions - I danced, and it rained.

2. When looking at the course of human history, we learned language relatively late, and reading even later. Taking tests to verify knowledge is a relatively recent development, and perhaps not what our brains were really evolved to do.

3. Our goal as learning designers is to entice, engage, and encourage our learners.

4. Stories help the learner relate to the instructor and the material - especially as an introduction.

5. Dr. Peters demonstrated this technique with a story about a training he had to do in business grammar where the audience was at first bored, then distracted by a much more interesting adjacent presentation. This is a situation that would be very related to an audience of trainers.

6. This particular type of story is called “a mess to success” story.

7. Story is a way for us to store information, retrieve it and share it.

8. You can use common stories, many of which are in public domain. But be aware of copyright. Dr. Peters gave an example of a team member who had to re-design a boring training about wage garnishment and payroll deductions. Created a “Snow White” story with characters who represented the seven dwarves and the hunter without using the precise title “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”.

9. When telling a story that doesn’t relate to the learners experiences, use analogies and metaphors so that their learners’ brains will make connections and fill in the gaps. Perth Australia is like San Diego etc.

10. No matter how good your training - the “water cooler” will always be more powerful. Story telling is hard-wired into our brains.

11. When we tell stories, scientists are seeing certain chemicals released in the brain. Examples include the stress hormones of cortisol and adrenaline, and/or endorfins, dopamine and oxytocin. However, different people have different levels of receptors for these various brain chemicals. For example, sociopaths don’t have oxytocin receptors, so they are unmoved by stories of suffering. This is all a new field of research, with much to be discovered.