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Once upon a time at work: discovering the stories in workplace training

Katie Stroud (President, Incremental Success, Seabeck, Washington, USA)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 2 February 2015




The importance of using stories to impact memory is highly explored and documented; however, little guidance exists for how to develop stories in the context of instructional design. The purpose of this paper is to offer a template for conforming workplace training material into stories. With specific examples and reasoning, the author offers a new way to develop training materials based on the framework of a story.


Exploring basic storytelling elements learned in grade school, the author combines past experience with general observations on how stories affect the learner. Applying these concepts, she walks the reader through an experience that reveals how the brain interprets stories. She uses her own story with specific examples and reasoning along the way to help you find the stories that already exist in your everyday world.


This paper shows, anecdotally, how to build stories around workplace problems for use in training. It suggests that modeling training around the framework of a story helps the audience to process the information as an experience and therefore retain the information longer.


This paper was designed to help anyone who is responsible for developing instructional content and has been looking for a structured way to frame that content into a story.



Stroud, K. (2015), "Once upon a time at work: discovering the stories in workplace training", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 47 No. 1, pp. 31-35.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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