This is part 2 of a three part series on storytelling as part of the learning experience.
Questions I'd like to address about storytelling in this three-part series:
1. Who benefits the most from a good story? (See Part 1)
2. How do you build a powerful story to illustrate a concept?
3. What guidelines should I use for using stories?
How do you build a powerful story to illustrate a concept?
Brainstorm all of these relationships using some form of a concept map. Let your ideas flow freely, without critique, and you will find stories among your thoughts.
Start with your ah-ha moments from your learning experience.
If you can recall, when did the topic or concept click for you? What was happening? Sharing how we made sense of a topic can help others find their own way to understanding.
Talk to others who know the topic well. Ask them about how they have come to make sense of certain concepts. How do they explain the topic to someone new to learning it?
Consider what you know about the people who will be attending your session. What kinds of pop culture may they relate to? What experiences could you connect with that relate to the story?
Connect your inspiration together into a beginning or "hook", middle, and end. Your entire session may center around a single story with pauses or breaks for providing information to the audience for how to interpret the story's events or to discuss how they may apply what they have learned to this point in the story. You may use your story as a brief aside or anecdote to clarify understanding.
Even if you chose not to center your class or workshop around a single story, this activity of priming yourself to consider how you and your learners connect to a topic will help you anticipate challenges that your audience may have with understanding the concept. Anticipating these stumbling blocks allows you to adjust your lecture and activities to best help your audience learn.