Design a Story Lesson Using a Journey Map – Tip #179

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How do you take an important, technical or serious issue and present it to learners so that they are interested in it and take action?

Diving and Lionfish

A couple of years back, University of West Florida professor Dr. Bill Huth was studying the lionfish in Florida. He wanted to find out if a fishery could help control the population of the invasive species as well as test if consumers would be willing to pay to eat lionfish meat.

In the video below, he shares his journey and findings. (Watch the video before continuing with the post. It will only take a couple of minutes.)

The Journey Map Story Design

Dr. Huth’s video follows a story development template I’d like to call the Journey Map Story Design. Here’s how the template looks like:

Background of the story. It starts with a personal experience.
Challenge or problem. The personal experience is then linked to the current situation and/or the current situation is tied to a personal challenge.
Conflict. Add tension by relating risks and rewards. Simply pointing out a specific problem that needs to be solved or requires a solution that could also potentially create conflict.
Resolution. Show how the problem was overcome.
Lesson. Insert a lesson that resonates with or is relevant to learners.

Benefits of Journey Maps to Learning

Learners can benefit from journey maps in several ways…

Mapping experiences help learners see the big picture.
It helps them understand others.
It strengthens factual points through experiences shared in stories and by others (experience building).
It fosters deliberate thinking.
It enables learners to empathize with others and take action.

…as do trainers and designers.

It helps better identify and analyze problems.
It shows relationships between different data—the meaning behind the numbers.
Its relatable narrative “humanizes” data.
It can be an effective tool to influence stakeholders to take action.

How to Develop Your Own Journey Maps

Journey maps, being visual representations of qualitative and quantitative data, tells a narrative. Similar to customer journey mapping, it entails identification and analysis of the problem, which help create solutions that are more targeted toward resolving the problem, such as improving performance.

Did you know that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform those with unengaged employees by 147% in earnings per share? Or, that companies with engaged employees excelled at customer experience?

This post is a great starting point in developing journey maps. In essence, here’s how to develop a journey map.

Step 1: Collate qualitative data through interviews or targeted, informal conversations.
Step 2: Segment learners into different groups based on their wants and needs. In other words, identify the different learner personas.
Step 3: Gather business data, as well as quantitative data from HR.
Step 4: Design your journey map. You can start by sketching a layout and then deciding what tool to use.


Dr. Bill Huth’s faculty profile at the University of West Florida
Gulf MOOC. Lions in the Water: The Impact of the Environment on the Gulf Economy. YouTube, Sept. 2, 2016
Hands-On #2: Download Your Copy of the Story Development Template
Gallup. The Engaged Workplace
Temkin Group. Report: Employee Engagement Benchmark Study, 2016. Customer Experience Matters blog, Feb. 16, 2016
Tanya Lau. Using Employee Experience Journey Mapping to Identify and Target Learning and Performance Issues – Part 2 (How). Explorations in Learning, March 24, 2018
Denise Lee Yohn. Design Your Employee Experience as Thoughtfully as You Design Your Customer Experience. Harvard Business Review, Dec. 8, 2016
Tip #36 – Why Experience Results in Superior Learning
Tip #141 – Advanced Models of Story-Based eLearning Design

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

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