Narrative Techniques

Narrative techniques are also known simply as storytelling. They create a learning situation that allows minds to reach beyond prior experiences and problem-solve in creative ways. This instructional design technique allows students to identify with a theme or character. This is where students can realize their own errors in thinking. When executed correctly, narrative techniques are powerful tools that empower learners and increase information retention.


The concept of narrative learning is nothing new, we use it every day. Applying these concepts is possible with online learning through stories, simulations, and case studies. Learning when to use a type of narrative technique can be overwhelming. The content, learning objectives, and students all impact that decision.


Below are examples that can help you decide how to best approach your online class curriculum with effective use of narrative techniques.

Case studies focus on real-world situations that can be analyzed to determine individual or group reactions.
The digital portfolio focuses on providing learners with an opportunity to curate their achievements over time using media and tools that reflect their mastery and learning.

Stories focus on first-person narratives that are useful for retelling experiences and situations from a personal point-of-view.

Open-ended questions challenge learners by forcing them to identify what they know in relation to a problem then shifting to aspects of a problem they do not know.

Roleplaying places an emphasis on student assignments in which various roles are administered and interchanged throughout the assignment.
Simple simulations focus on real-world processes that occur and change over time.

Student-generated media focuses on students creating something interesting and providing an engaging and relevant narrative for review.

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