Creating Relevance Through Narrative

Concurrent Session 1

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Learn techniques for using storytelling and narrative to provide students with accessible frameworks for understanding complex, conceptual content and highly relevant assessment opportunities.  Come see practical examples of these techniques in application.


Luke Cable is a Sr. Instructional Designer with Wiley and works with several programs. Luke holds an MA in Curriculum & Instruction as well as a BS in Architectural Engineering. After working in architecture for twelve years as a Project Architect and Mentor, he found a passion for teaching and adult education. Luke has spent the last nine years working as an instructional designer, academic consultant, business analyst, and product manager collaborating with higher-education, faculty, staff and institution leaders to leverage technology in order to improve teaching and learning outcomes.
Bill Cochran is the Multimedia Design Manager for Wiley Education Services. He currently manages a team of media production specialists that provide support across Wiley’s partner programs. He has a background in learning theory, interactive media development and creative writing, and holds a MS from the iSchool at the University of Illinois and a BA from UNC-Chapel Hill. His work has won Brandon Hall and American Business Awards for custom content, video learning, best use of games for learning and best use of virtual learning.

Extended Abstract

Learn techniques for implementing narrative to provide students with accessible frameworks for understanding complex, conceptual content and relevant assessment opportunities.  This presentation will share several experiences of developing and using these techniques in online courses in a variety of contexts and our data-driven conclusions of them. 

Although research tells us that adult learners crave relevance, it can be difficult to place conceptual or foundational content in authentic real-world contexts.  The use of narrative and creative writing helps us create those intersections between concept and application and enables both active experiential learning. 

However, many faculty in higher education have reservations about the use of narrative: without experience creating online narrative content or a background in creative writing, there can be a fear that scenarios or narrative examples will seem contrived, childish, or require high-end production value to engage students.  These are all myths!

In this presentation we will share a tested framework for generating instructional narratives in collaboration with faculty and subject matter experts. We will show an example of highly produced scenario-based content, as well as an example where scenarios are used effectively without high-end production. Evaluation data showing student engagement and effectiveness of this approach will be provided.