Narrative and Interactive Structures in Instructional Design

In the Future of Storytelling MOOC I’m taking, this week’s topic is serial TV and narrative structures. This New York Times article describes the concept of the mega-movie (e.g., a show like Lost or the Sopranos) as distinct from a procedural, that wraps up a story line neatly at the end of each show (e.g., a show like Castle or Bones) and as distinct from a typical series that doesn’t really have a complete story arc in mind.

This made me think of how we might frame the learning experiences we create. Although we often create things analogous to “procedurals” (on a good day), with each module treated as a self-contained unit, what if we treated curriculum design as an opportunity to create something analogous to an interactive mega movie? The closest thing that comes to mind is using an ARG-like structure as a framework for a program. There are interesting possibilities here, including the possibility of story sharing  on a larger scale. (I’m distinguishing this from storytelling which doesn’t necessarily immerse the learner or challenge him/her to connect a narrative to his or her own life in an active way.)

I’ve tried to do this in a patient safety certificate program I’ve designed (both the blended and purely online forms I created), and it’s been a good approach, both from the engagement side and on the skills-building side. Still looking for creative ways to combat the time dilemma facing our busy healthcare professionals (my typical audience), and traditional views of training as a one-and-done, check-the-box event. Trying to see whether a somewhat continuous, narrative -based learning experience  might be connected to an informal learning platform. Still working on this one.




2 responses to “Narrative and Interactive Structures in Instructional Design

  1. I agree with your intuition. Actually, way before the digital revolution, the Jasper Project at Vanderbuilt tried to do just this. They’re anchored instruction/goal-based learning scenario was built like a story across several episodes. Of course, this is becoming almost standard now…

  2. Pingback: Narrative and Interactive Structures in Instructional Design | E-TeachUK

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s