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Ciara Cunningham

Aurion Learning

Marketing Manager

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The Winter Olympics: A Russian Doll of Stories


Yesterday marked the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Since the beginning of February, the attention of the world has been firmly focused on Sochi.

Viewers were glued to their TV screens, not because they’ve been hiding their love of the luge and curling until this moment but because the Winter Games aren’t so much about sport as they are about storytelling. Adopting the storytelling techniques used in the Winter Olympics will mean that you can achieve E-Learning gold every time.

Each of the sport events in the Winter Games is presented like a Russian doll of stories: a story inside a story inside a story:

1. To begin, the presenter introduces the sport, giving a short explanation of its history and explaining why it is unique. The presenters have been picked for the role because they are passionate and well informed. Their enthusiasm is infectious. They are responsible for providing the information listeners need to navigate their way through the rest of the event. The presenter at this point is akin to a well-versed subject matter expert.

Learners recognise authenticity so it is important that you utilise the people and passion around you to deliver real, meaningful wisdom and advice to learners.

2. In a typical Winter Olympics event, the viewer then gets to learn about each of the competitors and is lent a lens with which to look into their world. This is both compelling and enlightening. Personal stories bring a depth and connection to the event for viewers.

In the same way, personal stories will help learners to connect with learning content and remember important information much longer than they would have retained knowledge presented to them in the traditional ways.

3. Stories should be enjoyable. This is achieved in the Winter Games with a combination of witty conversation from the commentator and through the use of music that helps to keep the pace of the event. The possibilities are endless when it comes to adopting these techniques for E-Learning.

By combining aesthetically pleasing design, up-beat music and videos it’s possible to make your stories and therefore your E-Learning programme interactive and memorable.

4. When the sports event is complete and the winners are announced, the presenter explains why winning is such a big milestone for the competitor, how much work has went in to this achievement and reaffirms how worthwhile their effort has been.

On the same note, at the conclusion of a good E-Learning programme, it should be clear to the learner what new skills or knowledge they now possess and how this will impact their lives. By making each of your learners feel like a winner and helping them to recognise their achievements you will make them want to return for more.

5. The Winter Games inspire and move their audience. We are reminded that seemingly impossible goals and dreams are indeed possible. This is a message that is relevant to every person at every stage in life. Stories that appeal to wide audiences and have the ability to evoke powerful emotions create an experience for viewers that is unforgettable.

Learning is the same. When learners engage with not just their brains but their emotions and belief system too, they will not just store information away but wrestle with it and apply it to their lives. It was Aristotle who said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

At Aurion HQ, we are firm believers in Philip Pullman when he said, 'After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.' Stories can make learning fun, memorable and easy to understand. By harnessing the power of stories and the storytelling techniques used in the Winter Games, you can entertain your learners and keep them coming back for more.

We are putting the final touches to our new digital storytelling tool, storee. Why not get in on the beta launch and join the storytelling revolution by signing up for free to create your own digital story.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Visit us at or follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

Author Profile Picture
Ciara Cunningham

Marketing Manager

Read more from Ciara Cunningham

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