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Stories - it is who we are


In 1944, psychologists Fritz Heider and Marianne Simmel showed a short animated film to 34 subjects. The film, which can be seen below, showed a circle and two triangles moving around a rectangle.



The subjects were then asked to write down what happened in the picture. Interestingly, all but one of the subjects wrote a story to explain what they saw. One subject wrote: "A man has planned to meet a girl and the girl comes along with another man. The first man tells the second to go; the second tells the first, and he shakes his head. Then the two men have a fight."

The psychologists found that it is our nature as humans to tell stories. I do it. You do it. We all do it. It’s part of who we are. There are several reasons why we do this. One of the reasons is retention. According to Jennifer Aaker, a professor of marketing at Stanford University School of Business, information that is given in narrative form is retained up to 22 times more than just facts alone.

Stories are a natural and effective way to transfer knowledge while on the job or in corporate training. Good leaders and managers share examples or stories all the time. Like, stories on how to work with clients or stories regarding challenges to beware of when performing certain tasks. Stories, especially when told by a respected mentor, trigger an emotional response that engages the listener in a way that direct instruction, like telling someone exactly what to do or not do, just can’t.

Socratic Arts has leveraged stories in learning experiences for a long time. In fact, stories are the core component to our Story-Centered Curriculum (SCC) approach, which places the learner in a real-world based scenario to simulate on-the-job learning, without the real-world impacts that come with mistakes when on the job. The SCC approach also incorporates ways for experienced colleagues to share their stories to heighten the learning experience and make it personal.

The SCC approach offers several advantages over traditional methods of learning, such as:

Stories are at the center of who we are as humans. It’s how we relate to life and each other. Harness the power of stories for your company’s next learning experience by contacting Socratic Arts today.

About the Author

Steve Luker

Steve Luker

is a Senior Content Developer for Socratic Arts, specializing in the creation of technical content for a wide array of industries, including tech, business consulting, and medicine. Over the past decade, Mr. Luker has created numerous simulation-based, learn-by-doing tax, audit, and business consulting courses for Fortune 500 companies; created Master’s degree courses in Big Data and E-Commerce for leading universities; and developed institutional memory retrieval systems for the pharmaceutical and defense industries. Mr. Luker holds an M.S. in Communication and a B.S. in Physiology from the University of Utah.

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