Storytelling in e-learning


Communicating through stories is as old as humanity itself. That's why our brain responds so strongly to it. Did you know that you can also use this very well in e-learning?

Social media and technology (phone, chat, email) are new ways in which we, as humans, communicate with each other. But communicating through stories is as old as humanity itself. That's why our brain responds so strongly to it. Storytelling is often used in marketing campaigns, for example. But did you know that you you can also use storytelling very well for e-learning?

Storytelling is an effective way to communicate and promote engagement. Stories are a natural and powerful tool for conveying messages and connecting people.

And this connecting factor is so incredibly important, especially when it comes to e-learning. In previous blogs, we already wrote that e-learning often still has an 'impersonal' image, but that e-learning doesn't have to be impersonal at all! There are lots of ways to making e-learning personal and storytelling is one of them.

How can you use storytelling effectively in e-learning? What are the do's and don'ts?

Know your target audience

If all is well, before you designed your e-learning, you should have a persona unsubscribed for yourself.

A persona is a detailed description of your (fictional) ideal student. Once you have clearly formulated your persona, this makes it easier to then empathise with this persona and come up with stories that suit your ideal student.

For example, choose a story that your student can imagine very well in his or her daily life.

Or a story that matches where your student wants to grow (and why they're following your e-learning). Keep your persona's fears, desires, and pain clearly in mind.

Choose a relevant topic

When choosing a story, make sure that the topic is relevant to the e-learning. Choose a story that matches one or more learning objectives of the e-learning. In this way, the storyline is an excellent opportunity to take the student through the training by the hand.

Use a clear structure

Use a clear structure in your storyline.

For example, this structure can be similar to the learning journey that the student is going through. It starts with a problem, then the protagonist learns certain knowledge and/or skills that then contribute to the solution.

At the beginning, it is important that the student is really drawn into the story. The better he or she can empathise with the protagonist, the more involved the student feels with the story.

There may also be quite a few obstacles in the story, after all, in 'real' life, we usually don't go directly from A to B either, but there are still many things in between that distract or make us uncertain, for example. At the end of the story, also reflect on these obstacles and show how they came across.

Integrate interaction

An interesting option, but technically more complicated, is to integrate the personal outcomes of the story. This way, each student starts at the same starting point, but they can then choose different next steps in the story.

This storytelling option is more in line with reality, because not every student is the same.

When the student himself has (somewhat) influence on the story, this increases the personal experience of, and engagement with, the e-learning.

A great way is to use the personal learning paths that you find in Pluvo.

Speak to emotions

A storyline sticks much better when it appeals to our emotions. Just think: when you watch a movie or read a book and your emotions are addressed, you're much more likely to remember (and recommend) this story to others.

Especially at the beginning of the story, you can make effective use of this.

Address the emotion that prompted the student to follow your e-learning. As a result, you immediately create greater engagement and motivation.

Use visuals

In addition to text, use other visuals to illustrate your story. For example, photos, illustrations, animations or video clips.


  • Don't make your story line too complicated, make it easy to follow
  • Stay on-topic and don't stray too much from the topic of the e-learning
  • Use clear, clear language and avoid phrases and metaphors

In short, storytelling is an effective way to increase student engagement in your e-learning.

If you want to use storytelling for your e-learning, it is important that you know your target group well, choose a relevant topic, maintain a clear structure, offer interaction, address emotion and use visuals. Are you ready to write your story?

Create a free Pluvo account and get started!

Close notification