Last week I was invited as a speaker at Microsoft TechDays in Sweden to share my experiences helping customers accelerate Office 365 adoption. In my session, I spoke about the importance of storytelling to boost learning and how it can be used by companies that are transitioning to a modern, digital workplace on Office 365.
As humans, our brains are wired to learn. We hunger for knowledge. But in today’s information overflow, it is hard for organizations to compete for their users’ attention. Users are often too busy doing “their job” to educate themselves on how things could actually be done smarter using modern tools. I love this cartoon that was shown by Göran Ölander, head of the Digital Workplace at SAS, last year when we presented together at TechDays:
“Do you want to try this new innovation (holding up two round wheels)?” – “Sorry, no time! I need to deal with my email inbox!”
To get users to invest their valuable time, you need to spark their interest. At Storyals, we work a lot with short, inspirational videos that are designed to inspire users to want to learn more. Once you have their attention, you need to make the very most of it and make sure they learn as much as possible.
This is where storytelling comes in. If you show your users a lengthy PowerPoint with bullet points, it only activates the left part of the brain – the language processing center of our brain, where words are turned into meaning. If you tell a story, the whole brain is activated – the language, emotions, visuals, sensory, and motor areas.
Many times, when I see people demonstrate a new product or solution, they just focus on the features. They don’t put them into context – what are the benefits of using this new product with these new features? The brain is not wired to grasp abstracts. You need to use concrete examples for people to understand what you mean. In the book “Talk like TED”, Carmine Gallo refers to Professor Martha Burns who does research on what happens in your brain when you learn new things. When we learn something new and exciting, a chemical substance called dopamine is released. This is the same chemical that is released when you win at the slot machine or when you are kissed for the first time. Dopamine gives us a buzz, we feel good.
When dopamine is present, it helps you remember. Martha Burns calls it the “save” button of our brain. So, it’s important to always think of ways of making the information new and exciting, increase novelty and you increase the dopamine level. Since dopamine is addictive, your goal is to get your users addicted to learning – and wanting more!
Storyals’ whole existence is built on storytelling. We came up with the concept of the story-based tutorial. We know that users’ attention span is a scarce resource and that we have to make the most out of every minute that someone is watching our training videos on Office 365.
In my session, I also talked about Custom Learning for Office 365 and how we are working with Microsoft to create a Storyals Learning Portal with our Office 365 story-based tutorials available to customers directly from within their Office 365 portal and how we are using LMS365 to help organizations assign and follow up on training. But more on that in another post.
Update: Watch the full TechDays 2018 session here:
Ulrika Hedlund – Founder and Managing Director, Storyals