How Digital Stories can Help Companies Adopt New Technologies and Working Methods

Technology is a facilitator of success, or at least it should be. Too often, companies invest in new technologies but fail to achieve the desired results. And it’s not because the technology is broken or poorly designed; it’s because staff find it hard to change old habits.

Deep-rooted behavior is a limitation to progress: old habits are dying out, and this prevents staff from easily adopting new technologies and methods, even when it really makes life easier for them.

Digital narration

Breaking an old habit, however, is not easy, as anyone who has tried to quit smoking or biting their nails can see. But it is possible, and replacement is a successful technique to derail our usual trains of thought and take us on a new path. Substitution works because it gives our brain a substitution experience to focus on, and as it stays fixed on the new experience, the old ways fade into distant memory.

In theory, new methodologies and technologies should become this substitute experience, but it doesn’t always work that way. Unless we can start the adoption process, old habits can continue to be a limitation for future progress for a long time.

Why companies are struggling to adopt new technologies

New technologies almost always mean new ways of doing things. Certainly, problems are never encountered when nothing changes visibly, such as when we receive updates to existing applications. It is when things change visibly that it becomes necessary to retrain staff.

A lot of our daily activities consist of things we do without really thinking about it. Things like brushing your teeth, going to work, or printing a document are things we do without having to think critically before (or during). This is because our brains are intelligent and are conserving resources.

We simply don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” every time. This ability is often called “muscle memory” and we use it a lot. It allows us to walk while we simultaneously think of schemes for world domination or sing a cheerful melody about cats, for example.

The downside to this skill is that it makes it difficult to change things once we have an established pattern.

Believe it or not, many people are bothered by the feeling of error. As a result of this resentment, people often misinterpret the “mistake” when they accidentally do things “the old way” as a negative attribute of the new process, rather than being their mistake.

This is a phenomenon that is often observed when a driver avoids hitting a pedestrian or cyclist and leans on the horn to deflect guilt; it is because they feel a negative emotion and assume that the source is external. In a short time, this becomes a negative association with the new process, and then becomes even more difficult to overcome.

To avoid this, it’s best to start the process with an engaging retraining program that can create a new strong muscle memory from a “real” experience. Digital storytelling allows you to create that experience.

Using immersive technology such as virtual reality for digital storytelling purposes
Photo credit: Michelangelo Buonarroti / Pexels

Use of digital storytelling to launch new working methods

Digital storytelling has been shown to have incredible impacts on training and retraining. When done right, digital storytelling experiences can become a memorable and engaging event from which participants draw a lot. The ability to reinforce the experience with emotional impacts and resonant narratives is what differentiates digital storytelling as training technology.

When participants participate in a story-based digital training program, they are making a wide range of neural connections. This is even more pronounced in immersive experiences, which use a multisensory learning approach to add even more value and impact.

Why immersive experiences are so good for (re) training programs

Digital storytelling is already a powerful way to run training programs, as it creates more lasting memories in no time. This speeds up learning programs and reduces the need for further retraining.

However, when these training events take place in an immersive experience, this effect becomes even more pronounced.

An immersive experience is an audiovisual environment that can be used to deploy digital storytelling. These can be done in specially designed immersive experience rooms, or with a large enough (sometimes curved) screen to fill the visual field. When screens are equipped with touch capability, these experiences can also become interactive.

The effect of digital storytelling is greatly multiplied in an immersive environment, because it puts the participant at the center of the action. They are more personally involved and the lack of external distractions ensures that attention is kept constant.

Use of digital narration in the occupational training workshop
Photo credit: Nearsoft Inc / Flickr

Use of digital storytelling for training and incorporation

Recycling is a problematic area that all workers have to deal with from time to time. It can happen whenever new responsibilities are imposed on a department as the business develops, when existing processes need to be corrected, or if new technology is adopted. However, the need for training is constant.

All companies need to make sure they invest enough in a workforce that has the skills and knowledge they need to do their job and adapt when things change unexpectedly. Undoubtedly, training is necessary when new staff are also incorporated into a company, as they must be fully incorporated. A smooth incorporation process can help new recruits settle in and start being as effective and productive as possible as soon as possible.

However, training always comes at a cost. The time spent recruiting or training staff is never a waste, but it must be optimized to ensure that it is efficient. Digital storytelling can massively reduce training time and facilitate the adaptation of training programs over time. This has a lasting benefit that ensures that training programs achieve their goals consistently and at the lowest cost in the long run.

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