Thursday, June 25, 2015

What an Instructional Designer can Learn from a Parent?

Parents are known as instructors. Isn’t it?  They keep instructing kids about good and bad habits, things to do and not to do, pros and cons of something - the list is endless. I too am a parent of a six year old beautiful daughter - Pari. Just like most of the parents, I too keep instructing her on something or the other, all the time. But, over time, I have realized that she learns from something which I had never thought of – bed time stories. Yes! We all have heard these stories from our parents. Let me tell you an interesting incident which happened few weeks back.

Pari loved to eat a particular cookie (till the time of the incident) which is not supposed to be very good for children’s health. She used to finish a complete packet almost every day. I constantly used to tell her not to eat so many of them. But, she never listened. One night when it was time for her bed time story, I told her a very thoughtful one. You want to hear it too? Here it goes…

Once there was a cute little boy who was seven years old. He had many friends and he loved to play with them. He also loved the same cookies as Pari did. He used to have 10 to 12 of them daily. One day while playing, suddenly his stomach started hurting and he couldn’t play at all. He felt sick. His mother rushed him to the doctor. The doctor asked, “What did you eat today?” He said, “I had a pack  of my favourite cookies”. The doctor said that having so many cookies had caused this problem. He injected the boy, asked him to take rest, and instructed no play for one week. The boy realized that those cookies were not so good for his health. The cookies even led him to stop going out to play with his friends. He stopped eating them.

That was the end of the story and we slept. Next day morning, when Pari was having her morning cuppa of milk, I served her the cookies assuming she would demand for them like every day. To my delight, she asked “Mom, don’t we have any other cookies? I don’t like these.” I know you too are smiling, just like I was at that moment. The story had done its job even without me telling her anything.

That’s the skill every instructional designer can learn from parents - converting a boring instructional content piece into a story by:
  1. Having characters which learner can easily relate to
  2. Including events or problems, actions, consequences, climax and resolution
  3. Dramatizing the story to make it interesting
  4. Connecting it with elements or objectives which matter to the learner
  5. Crafting  the end of the story carefully with a conclusion but without too many obvious instructions
The learner would then find the content engaging, motivating and above all, would never forget it

Happy Storytelling :)