Build a Story First Before Video Gaming

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At the Salt Lake TrainingTech Solutions Conference, I met a trainer from a large retail chain who asked me: “What do I need to do to train 18 to 20 year olds? I want to develop video game-like learning to grab their attention.”

My response: create the stories relating to your content, then build the video game.

A good point in case: in a retail sales training, there is a tendency to train staff on technical information of products, like cameras, CD players, etc. Do customers really buy the technical specs? Not really. Customers have some problems or needs that must be met first and foremost. One can only help customers buy if the sales person has a clear idea of the needs.

Instead of technical training as the core of learning, how about if you, the trainer and developer, build the stories that help the learners understand the real-life needs of the customers.

An illustration:

father and daughter are trying to decide on an iPod or an alternative. What really are on their minds? What is their story?
a young person looking for an all-in-one gizmo that has a phone, MP3 player, web browser, text messaging, etc. What is the person looking for and what is the story?
Unless we can connect stories to our learning content, our video games and other form of media would fail to deliver the learning. Lessons without stories in real-life context will be difficult for learners to relate to.

Adding video-gaming to a technical training is like repainting your car and spending $5,000 without even fixing the leak in the engine.

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way”