Identifying engaging story ideas
It’s important to create a story idea that is captivating enough to maintain trainees' attention. A good rule of thumb is that you have an engaging story when there is a clear main conflict, not just a learning goal or topic such as safety or onboarding. You can tell you have an engaging story idea when you can use the words "but," "expect," and "and then."
To start, choose a topic that can be turned into a story. This could be something as simple as ‘customer service’ or ‘safety training’. Once you have your topic, you'll want to build a main conflict, which will be the central driving force of the story. Here you can ask questions like: What is the main character trying to achieve? What is the conflict preventing the main character? What does the main character need to do to succeed?
Let’s build on the examples of customer service and safety training.
For customer service, we create the topic ‘handling a double booking at a hotel’. You work at the reception of a hotel lobby during the busiest time of the year. Then a couple arrives for their honeymoon in the penthouse. While you checking their reservation, it turns out there has been a double booking...
For safety training, we use ‘finding the exit when there is a fire in a factory’. It’s a regular working day, and you enter the building. You are doing your daily work tasks, but suddenly the fire alarm sounds. Everyone panics and runs in different directions…
Now you can flesh out the story itself, outlining the steps the main character has to take and the obstacles they will face along the way. To spice up your story even more, you can add an element of surprise and an unexpected twist at the end!
Getting started even without a story idea
If you're feeling stuck and need a story idea, there are still ways to get started. First, we just launched our inspiration page, where you can find the story ideas described above and many more. This is a great way to get inspired.
You can also consider storylines that are already being used for training. Or stories from actual things that happened during work. If some accident happened a while back, it could be an input for a story-based scenario.
It is optional to have an interesting story idea before you start writing. Often, we begin with a topic and — through conversations with subject matter experts about conflicts and outcomes — this develops into a great story idea.
Alternatively, you can also approach story creation from the other direction. Take a look at the learning objectives and then think about how you can create a story that incorporates them. Once you have a good idea of the story's elements, you can begin to outline the scenario, creating the characters, obstacles, and outcomes.
With some practice, you'll be crafting captivating stories in no time!
Utilizing story ideas in practice
Now that you have a story idea in mind, it's time to put it into practice. The key here is to create a structure and outline for your story. This will help you stay on track and create an impactful scenario. We created a story-based worksheet to help you with this. It has full workflow guidance to create the best possible immersive learning scenarios with your team. Watch our webinar How to create story-based training scenarios with our worksheet to learn more.
Crafting a captivating story is no easy feat. It requires finding the right story idea, uncovering the conflict, and getting creative with the narrative. However, by following the tips outlined in this article, you will be well on your way to writing an engaging story.
Need some help? Chat with us or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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