Bringing Story Sync To The Classroom

Story Sync is a role-specific, interactive scenario that operates on a classroom-issued tablet, which runs in parallel with classroom content.

E-learning, mobile learning, gamification, micro-learning. The list goes on. Every time you look up, it seems there is another new trend in the training world. It can be difficult to balance the desire to embrace the latest training trend while developing sound content for your organization. But one thing is certain—classroom training will always have a place.

What has been done to enhance the classroom experience? Often, the answer is “not much.” Virtual reality, geo location activities, and other tech-heavy solutions have popped up, but they are unrealistic for most organizations due to cost, development time, or cultural fit. I could not find a solution for the classroom that could provide a role-specific, immersive experience that uses concepts from the latest training trends. I needed to find something familiar, like e-leaming, that could be used concurrently in the classroom. Often, we must facilitate a training class where roles, experience, and other workplace demographics vary. Keeping everyone engaged is a challenge. I needed a solution that could address this challenge, as well.

Creating Deeper Connections

The inspiration for my solution came from two recent experiences. The first came to me while I was watching one of my favorite TV shows—The Walking Dead. The show, as well as several other hit AMC shows, starts off the same way, asking viewers to log in on their mobile device to engage in Story Sync. Story Sync allows viewers to have an immersive experience by using their mobile device to explore more about the show while watching. I thought to myself, “This is a great experience for learning more about the show.”

The second inspiration came from an emotional experience I had while visiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. As you enter the museum, you are given a booklet introducing you to a person who lived during the Holocaust. As you go through the museum learning about the atrocities of that time, you are asked to turn the page, where you learn more about your person. At the end of the tour, you discover the fate of the person you had been learning about during your visit. This emotional experience left a lasting impression on me.

Implementing the Concept

I was asked to develop a two-day class on advanced illness care. The course educated nurse care advisors to care for patients dealing with end-of-life issues. I needed participants to apply the concepts taught throughout the course, and I always look for new ways to develop and distribute engaging concepts. In response, I developed the concept of Story Sync for the classroom. This role-specific, interactive scenario operates on a classroom-issued tablet, which runs in parallel with classroom content. The virtual Story Sync experience prompts participants to interact with the tablet to apply, reinforce, and validate learning at certain times throughout the training. The participants were “introduced” to the patient at the beginning of the class and “managed” his care throughout the class by engaging with Story Sync. This experiential learning can be focused on specific roles or other workplace demographics.

Join me at Training magazine’s upcoming 2017 Online Learning Conference to be held September 25-27 in New Orleans to learn more about the concept of Story Sync for the classroom and how you can design, develop, and implement your own Story Sync for your classroom.

Matt Estes is the director of Instructional Design at Evolent Health, where he leads a team that creates cutting-edge training.