Narrative Techniques Project

Narrative techniques, also known as storytelling, create a learning situation that allows our minds to reach beyond our prior experiences and problem-solve in a creative way. This instructional technique allows us to identify with a theme and/or character of a story and see their way of thinking. This process lends itself to reflection, where we can realize our own errors in thinking. When executed correctly narrative techniques are powerful tools that empower learners, increase retention and synthesis of the information being taught.

The concept of narrative learning is nothing new, we use it every day when someone asks you “how your day was”, or “what you did this weekend”. So how do we apply these concepts we so naturally leverage in our day-to-day to an e-learning environment?

Well, luckily online learning provides us with a unique medium; stories, simulations and case studies can be integrated seamlessly, allowing us to take complex information and align the concepts to real world circumstances.

Types of Narrative Techniques

With so many different approaches to online storytelling, which method is right for you? Well, the answer is “it depends”; it depends on the content, learning objectives, and the learners involved. That said, we will try to simplify the selection process by providing examples that will help you decide how to best approach your particular needs.


Faculty and Student Stories

The faculty and student stories narrative technique focuses on first-person narratives that have occurred in the field. This technique is useful for retelling experiences and situations from a personal point of view.

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Role Playing Exercises

The narrative technique focused on role playing places an emphasis on student assignments in which various roles are administered and interchanged throughout the assignment.

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Simple Simulations

The simple simulations narrative technique focuses on real world processes that occur and change over time.

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Open Ended Problems

This narrative technique challenges students by forcing them to identify what they know in relation to a problem, then the focus shifts to aspects of the problem they do not know.

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Student Generated Media

The student-generated media technique focuses on students creating something interesting and providing an engaging narrative for review.

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Case Studies

The narrative technique associated with case studies focuses on real world situations. These situations can be analyzed and observed to determine individual or group reactions.

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laptop, soda, landscape, water

Digital Portfolio

The digital portfolio narrative technique focuses on providing students an authentic opportunity to meaningfully curate their achievements overtime using a variety of media and tools.  It aims to chronicle a collection of evidences and artifacts that demonstrates student mastery and learning through reflection.  This is also a means for students to showcase their work to potential employers.

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