Learn How To Enhance Storytelling By Using Literary Devices In Online Training

We’ve all read a book we can’t seem to put down. The story compels us to turn the page to the point that we lose all track of time. It’s not just the character development or plot that drew us in, but the way the tale was told, every literary device lent itself to the experience. You can achieve the same effect with online training. Allusions, metaphors, and anecdotes help employees relate to the content and allow them to emotionally invest. They can even simplify complex ideas so that staffers can put theory into practice. Here are some top tips on how to use literary devices in online training.

1. Use Allusions To Provide Continuity And Context

As the name suggests, an allusion is when someone refers to another story or character to give it more context. This online training storytelling technique can help you maintain continuity throughout the course and tie everything together. Employees get to know a character and become familiar with their behavior and motivations. It’s a great way to reinforce knowledge and show how the same ideas and concepts apply in different situations.

2. Include Epigraphs To Create An Emotional Connection

Using a quotation from another work can inspire employees and possibly even create a sense of nostalgia. Epigraphs are direct excerpts that provide background information or offer a new perspective. For example, the quote sums up the narrator’s thoughts and feelings in their own words. This cultivates an emotional connection and helps employees better understand the subject matter. Just make sure you give credit to the author and show how the quote ties in if it’s unclear. For instance, the epigraph highlights how crucial it is to wear the proper safety gear or to build strong communication skills.

3. Incorporate Euphemisms To Lighten The Tone

Euphemisms contain understated or lighter imagery to describe a graphic event. For instance, you might downplay an on-the-job injury in order to spare employees the gruesome details, while at the same time still emphasizing the gravity of the situation. These literary devices lighten the mood without undermining the topic. This makes them a great fit for compliance online training storytelling and issues that may be too harsh for sensitive audiences.

4. Encourage Visualizations With Vivid Imagery

Storytelling in online training may not have the same flair as fiction novels. You aren’t depicting stunning landscapes or quirky characters, but you can still use imagery to help trainees visualize the content and immerse themselves in the action. For example, describe the workplace or a piece of equipment so they understand how to perform the task. This way they can picture the process in their minds. Imagery is also ideal for soft skills, such as online training storytelling that teaches non-verbal cues or builds empathy.

5. Use Eye-Opening Metaphors

Metaphors draw comparisons between two concepts that seem totally unrelated. This is yet another visualization and contextualization technique that helps employees assign meaning. It also opens their eyes to compliance issues or trends in a subtler way. For example, if someone is ‘walking the tightrope,’ employees can grasp that the situation is tenuous. They must address the situation right away to avoid negative outcomes.

6. Illustrate The Point With Personal Anecdotes

Personal anecdotes are one of the most popular literary devices in eLearning because they are so relatable. These stories illustrate the importance of training and how staffers can use the ideas in their real lives. Someone has done it before and achieved better results. Trainees are able to follow the example and improve their workplace performance. Likewise, the anecdote might tell the sad tale of a manager who lacked the necessary skills. Employees learn what not to do and common mistakes to avoid. They don’t repeat the same errors because the anecdote warns of the negative repercussions.

7. Inject Subtle Humor With Satire

Satire is one of the trickier literary devices in online training because it must be subtle. You don’t want to create controversy and make employees feel uncomfortable. When used correctly, it can inject humor into your online training storytelling and engage employees on a personal level. You can use satire to poke fun at the long list of company rules regarding the dress code; while, at the same time highlighting why the protocols are in place. For example, to keep your brand image intact and maintain credibility. Customers know what to expect when they walk in the door and every employee outwardly represents your brand thanks to their attire. But satire lightens the mood and acknowledges that there are numerous rules to follow. Satire may be in the form of animations, comics, or storytelling videos that highlight important topics and drum up laughs.

8. Personify Products To Make It More Memorable

Learning about all the products and services your company offers is usually boring or mentally taxing. They must memorize all the features and specs. However, personification in small doses can help them remember the takeaways. As an example, create animated stories that give your newest product a personality or assign traits that are usually human characteristics. Personification also works for job-related equipment. Such as keeping the neglected machinery happy with frequent check-ups and maintenance tasks.


You might be tempted to squeeze all these literary devices into a single story to achieve maximum impact. However, employees may grow immune if you try to pack too much into one tale. Use them sparingly to prevent cognitive overload and focus on the takeaways. Remember that devices should be used as an enhancement tool to assign meaning and encourage personal reflection. You must also ensure that content is culturally appropriate so that every member of the team reaps the rewards.

You don’t have to tell the tale on your own. Find the right eLearning content provider for your online training program using our online directory. See which outsourcing specializes in your industry and evaluate their list of L&D solutions.

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