THIS – Shaping InteractionsStrategy Consulting & Digital Agency in Düsseldorf
E-Learning & Blended Learning

The power of storytelling: The right narrative style for effective learning content

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The power of storytelling is undeniable. Transmitting experiences, knowledge, culture, and values through stories dates back far in history. We utilize storytelling to make learning content interesting, motivating, and sustainable. The benefits are clear: when learning content is embedded within a story, learners can become enthusiastic about the subject, strengthen their intrinsic motivation to learn, and facilitate effective knowledge transfer.

Since ancient times, stories have been used to teach people. The history of storytelling stretches back through the ages. Even in the earliest times, people have told stories to share experiences and knowledge, preserve their culture, and develop their imagination and creativity. Today, storytelling is omnipresent in many aspects of life. In marketing and sales, it is used to sell products and services and establish an emotional connection with customers. Storytelling is an art form that is essential for sharing human experiences and emotions and for creating connections. In the context of learning, storytelling holds significant importance. By narrating stories, complex learning content can be made more engaging, motivating, and enduring. People put content into a logical overall context and are demonstrably better at recalling what they have learned. Storytelling is therefore a great method to increase learning success.

Using storytelling for learning content

Depending on the expertise and subject matter, you can employ different types of dramaturgy for storytelling. We distinguish the following dramaturgies:

Classic dramaturgy:

The classic dramaturgy is the traditional method of storytelling and follows the structure of the hero's journey. It accompanies the protagonist on their "journey" to achieve a goal or fulfill a task. Along the way, obstacles are overcome, tests are undertaken, and, in the end, an outcome is achieved, which can be either better or worse than before the journey. This type of storytelling works particularly well when learners need to be convinced or enthused about something.

  • Employees need to be onboarded and inspired for a necessary change project in the company.
  • When introducing a new product, its potential is communicated to employees and customers.

Causal dramaturgy:

Causal dramaturgy focuses on cause-and-effect relationships. It is often used to depict connections between various events or actions and is suitable for learning content that emphasizes logical thinking and problem-solving.

  • A quality management training where causes and effects of quality issues are linked, and solutions are developed.
  • A risk management training where learners identify risks, analyze their impacts, and develop preventive measures.

Chronological dramaturgy:

Chronological dramaturgy follows a linear narrative structure, presenting events in the order of their occurrence. This storytelling style makes sense when the temporal sequence of events is essential, such as in complex processes with multiple phases or steps.

  • A project management training where learners are introduced to the steps from planning to project execution.
  • A product launch training explaining the various phases from introduction to product market readiness.

Holistic dramaturgy:

Holistic dramaturgy first describes the entirety of a subject and in the second step focuses on individual elements. This narrative style is suitable when aiming for a comprehensive understanding of a topic. Holistic dramaturgy aims to highlight the connections between different aspects of a subject and to provide a comprehensive perspective. It goes beyond the chronological narrative structure and examines the topic from various angles.

  • A leadership training that not only covers specific leadership skills but also explores aspects like emotional intelligence, employee motivation, and strategic planning within a holistic context.
  • A sustainability training where different aspects, such as environmental protection, social justice, and economic sustainability, are considered from a comprehensive viewpoint.


Wrapping learning content into a story helps to engage learners, strengthen their intrinsic motivation to learn, and facilitate effective knowledge transfer. However, it's crucial to choose the appropriate narrative style for the content to be delivered.