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How Wyeth Uses Interactive Storytelling To Gain 'Creative Control' Over Elearning Projects

 

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Meet Wyeth Krauchi — he used to be a department-of-one instructional designer.

Wyeth was confident enough to want to stretch his wings and take the leap to freelance elearning designer.

What he didn’t know was how to steer stakeholders away from content dumps, so he could work on the types of projects that would excite him.

Let's break it down:

Who? Wyeth Krauchi

Problem: The move to freelance still felt like a J-O-B.

Solution: Join Interactive Storytelling Accelerator (my 6-week training program that shows you how to build a unique elearning portfolio piece by leveraging interactive storytelling, not PowerPoint).

Did it work? Yep. Wyeth’s relationship with stakeholders and SMEs did a 180° degree turn and now his collaborations are full of excitement and fresh new ideas.

Here’s Wyeth singing the praises of interactive storytelling on Linkedin —

Here's one of the key things we helped Wyeth with —

After showing him how simple interactive storytelling can be when done a certain way, he hit another roadblock, which was articulating this vision to clients.

He had the talent, ambition, and now the step-by-step process to move beyond traditional elearning, and yet he still needed more confidence to present these new ideas.

After pinpointing his roadblock, we came up with practical strategies to take control of project momentum and persuade collaborators to embrace storytelling.

With this new perspective, he was able to get his team to stop talking about content and start talking about characters that learners could relate to — and create an emotional connection.

So, would you like to learn how to convince people to go with your crazy, epic, awesome ideas, like Wyeth?

If you do — Click here to see if and how we may be able to help you.

-Anna

TRANSCRIPTION

Anna:
Hello everybody, Anna Sabramowicz here. Thank you so much for joining me. I have a special guest with me of course. His name is Wyeth Krauchi. He is also a fellow Winnipegger which is close to my heart because I'm also from Winnipeg so this is wonderful. Wyeth thanks so much for jumping on with me.

Wyeth:
Well, thanks for the invitation. This is great. I've been looking forward to this for a while now.

Anna:
Awesome. I'm glad to have you and you're one of our founding members so it's perfect for you. We're going to dig in you guys, you're going to enjoy this. And Wyeth has a lot of awesome experiences and I think some really good advice for us. So I think you'll enjoy this conversation. Yeah, I know you're like, no pressure Anna, no pressure. Okay. So first off before you even joined the Interactive Storytelling Accelerator, first of all tell us a little bit about who you are, where you've come from before we get into all the details.

Wyeth:
Alright. Like in a nutshell as far as like instructional design is concerned, I guess I started in 2011 and worked with a smaller startup company and they developed their own learning management system. And at the time I was the sole instructional designer on the team. So it was a great position to start with because it was out of the frying pan into the fire sink or swim type situation.

Wyeth:
But it was a great experience and it really pushed me into a lot of different areas of instructional design. And that's when I started to move into more of the finance industry I guess, in Winnipeg. And I was mostly just the sole instructional developer there too. That was mostly my experience as an instructional designer. I was the solo guy in the corner. If you have some training needs just go ask him. I don't know what he does but he'll figure something out. In that respect it was a great challenge and a great way to learn a lot of different techniques and programs.

Wyeth:
An couple of years ago I decided to start doing freelance. I just wanted to stretch my wings a little bit and get into something different. And to look at what other ways I can develop e-learning experiences and more importantly different areas that I could. So that sums up my experience as an instructional designer up till now. And now I'm looking forward to getting more experimental in my e-learning projects and products more or less.Aand just seeing all the really cool stuff that's really different than what could have been possible even five years ago. It's a really exciting field to be in right now and especially with everything online, it's been fun. I love it. It's a great place to be.

Anna:
I agree. And it's interesting you said you were in finance and then you jumped into freelance.

Wyeth:
Yeah.

Anna:
Yeah? Why? What does it for you?

Wyeth:
Well, I guess in all honesty I felt a little stagnant. I wasn't being challenged. I was being told what to do and focus on one type of learning.

Anna:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Wyeth:
And I said to myself after four or five years doing the same thing over and over and over again it's like, where do I want to see myself later on? What's my future goal? And that's when I started to explore other ways of supporting myself financially and also being able to explore other ways to develop e-learning and just the different programs and techniques that are out there. Some of the stuff that's out there, it's incredible. That's where I got introduced to you guys as broken coworker. It was revolutionary it really changed my world and it showed me what was possible besides the old focus on text, the next type stuff and whatever else. So it was more of an adventure type thing. So that's where it led me to freelance.

Anna:
Okay. So it sounds like you're going into freelance because you wanted to do different things. You wanted to push yourself personally and it's like yes, there's always this, oh, I could be my own boss and doing all these creative things now. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn't. You're figuring out a lot of things on your own, right? Like when you're on [crosstalk 00:04:34].

Wyeth:
Oh yes. Everyday.

Anna:
So what was life like before you joined us? Not that we solved all of those questions but...

Wyeth:
No, but you really definitely pointed me in the right direction of things. My life before starting this course was again like I said, it was a one path thing. I was getting a bunch of papers and documents and stuff to train people on and just saying, put this online. It was a real challenge for me to bring up these new ideas to some of the stakeholders. Again, it's no fault of anybody's. It's the safety of knowing what I've done before and the security that I know it works.

Anna:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Wyeth:
So a lot of the talks and these conversations that I would have about doing experimental things like broken coworker and showing them and just saying, maybe let's try a different approach with this. Let's just try it. I'd never really got any traction. Again, because I think I was a solo developer, you're in a room full of executives and higher management and they're like, oh, I've never done this before. I'm really scared about it. I don't know if it'll work. I don't know if people will really it. And a few months of talks and it just ends up being, I'll put everything up online and that was it. But now after taking your courses and everything else, not only has it really taught me a process of procedure of being able to manage these types of projects but also gets me the language to talk and to really get my points across articulately. And being able to answer some of those questions that I really couldn't answer before because I had no real experience behind it.

Anna:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Wyeth:
So now I'm feeling like I can approach people with these talks and have these conversations. And people are very open to them now. It's changed my world. It's such a better place to be because now you have that free reign and you're more confident in presenting these ideas. And now you know how to do them and it makes life a lot easier in that respect.

Anna:
It's like a flywheel because you walk in with more confidence because you have more experience but because you have that, you get a different reception. It's cool.

Wyeth:
It's real.

Anna:
Good. I'm glad that's been positive. So as far as some of the early experiences of the e-learning that you've crafted, what was that? What was that like? You said it was a lot of like put these things up online but what did that really look?

Wyeth:
Oh my. It'd be like binders and binders and content that you would have to sit through. Understand thoroughly because you're putting this content up online so I felt I had to understand the content before I could put it up online. And that would take a long time especially when you're dealing with subject matter experts and stakeholders, you have to understand how they speak their language, all their terms and everything else like that. Just to make them feel confident and comfortable with you taking their content and putting it up online.

Wyeth:
So it's a confidence factor in that respect for client management I guess. But even trying to develop some of these interactive stories and new ways of delivering content, there was so much to do and I didn't have a process and I'd get so lost in the content and more or less trying to appease my stakeholders rather than think of, who's taking this? Why are they taking this? How are they taking this? All these important questions that I should have been asking, I wasn't asking anymore because I was too worried about, will the stakeholders like what I'm putting up? And I never thought about or I would give very little thought about who is actually taking this course. Why? Are they even interested in this stuff?

Wyeth:
It became more of a job in that respect. It was a grind just like, oh, okay, you got to do this all over again. And now I find that has completely turned around for me. No longer am I really focused on content, I'm thinking of concepts. So I'm talking to my stakeholders and subject matter experts about concepts, and process and objectives. What do we want people to do afterwards? And that's changed, that's revolutionized the way I develop my e-learning now because no longer am I focused on, how can I cram all these binders full of content into a half hour, 15, 10 minute experience? Now I can get these stories to adapt and find out what areas do people really need help with. Instead of them, you're pushing all this content on them and saying, my job here is done. You're not going to get it all because you've read everything well, that's not necessarily the case. How are they using this content? And I think that's really changed my way of developing e-learning and speaking with my stakeholders because now it's something that everybody can understand. Not only the stakeholders needs and myself but more importantly the learners. It's introducing concepts and then following with that the content that this needs and the stakeholders have. How can we use that content in a more efficient way for the learner?

Anna:
I love that approach. So there's a lot of stuff out there. Training books on that stuff, what made you actually jump into our program?

Wyeth:
Oh, my God. It was a chance to talk to you guys finally. I've been such a nerd when it comes to this and that I was really geeking out over the fact. I remember when we had our first, a little introductory call. Half an hour I'm like, oh my God I'm speaking to Anna. I was just freaking out. It was a way to learn from your experiences. It was a way to help myself, find a better way to develop these types of interactive stories for e-learning because the way I was doing it was not manageable. It was not efficient. And I knew if I was freelancing, I'm not going to be able to make a living of this the way I was doing it right now before I came to see you guys.

Wyeth:
But now it feels accessible, it feels manageable, I'm excited about doing projects now. The list goes on and on. I could speak for three or four hours about it. It was great because I can finally get in touch with somebody that can I guess, verify that I was on the right path. What I was doing had value. I guess again when you're working in a vacuum, you get no outside feedback from people who actually do these things for a living. Who are educated and experienced about developing e-learning stories and different approaches. I didn't have that. And I felt lost and I was thinking I was getting really frustrated. I was thinking, am I doing this right? Is this a good idea? I don't understand why I'm having so much trouble getting buy in and being able to develop these kinds of stories. But as soon as I entered your world it was like, oh, I am on the right path. I felt vindicated almost. I'm not bold crazy here. These are actually good things that I'm trying to develop. So that's why I wanted to get into it and just to get some good feedback and find that community that speaks my language, so to speak.

Anna:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). So when you jumped on, were you freaked out or skeptical or tell me.

Wyeth:
Oh yeah. I was freaked out. Of course. Now just based on my previous experience, posting my work and getting feedback from people who are using it. It's a part of you that when you put something out there, you feel you have an personal attachment to it. It's part of you. So a lot of the feedback that I would be getting would be, oh, I didn't like it. Oh, I really like this but it was nothing constructive. And I felt that was really frustrating for me because I didn't know what types of things were working and what types of things weren't working. In a way that somebody from not just a learner or versus me perspective or subject matter experts perspective but somebody who is actually developing these. So I was really scared to share my projects. That was just something I just hated. I'm not going to lie, I was really nervous. And plus the bar is set so high.

Anna:
Uh-huh (affirmative).

Wyeth:
I didn't know what kind of experience everybody's bringing to the table. I'm like, oh my God, imposter syndrome is like, let's crank this into eighth gear and just send it sky high. I was really nervous.

Anna:
I was really proud of you though because I think you were one of the first few people who were like, I'm going to bite the bullet against my best better judgment. I'm just going to share this and gather feedback. And you totally did and it was awesome.

Wyeth:
Thank you.

Anna:
One of the things that's I don't think people understand is that we get a lot of feedback. We get a lot of, people post their things publicly and they get likes and they get accolades or they get constructive feedback but you don't really know how to qualify that because you don't know people's experience and scope and all those other things.

Wyeth:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Anna:
And also people don't know what your aim at the end is because...

Wyeth:
Right.

Anna:
So it's underestimated how valuable that kind of feedback from somebody who understands your aim is trying to be, like you said, who builds it too.

Wyeth:
Oh my gosh, yeah. Absolutely.

Anna:
So I'm glad you mentioned that. Now one of the things I do want to point out is that you are super savvy with the software and this okay.

Wyeth:
Look at me.

Anna:
This is the best part everybody's got to know this. When we jump on our weekly coaching calls and if Wyeth's there and we're just like, oh, you know, we look at something we're like, Oh, that's really cool. And somebody is like, how do we do this? How do I build this? While we're talking about it a couple of minutes, Wyeth will just like pop in the chat. He's like, I built that. By the way, let me just show you how. We're like, what we were just brainstorming. Wyeth's like, yeah, that's okay, it's cool. I get it. Okay, let me show you how this works. That's so awesome. I just love it. So basically now, if Wyeth's on the call, I'm trying to think of something interesting to match it with or Kimberly will be like, hey, how do you do this? Boom. So now it's super cool because there's like 10 different ways to accomplish something and at least to articulate. It's so flexible.

Wyeth:
Absolutely.

Anna:
But for everybody to bring in their own ideas and then just for you to be like, yeah, while you were brainstorming, I was building. So it's awesome. That was super cool.

Wyeth:
Oh, thanks. This is great. It's always fun to play around.

Anna:
I think it is funny where you're just like, they're just still talking. Well, I have it. So that's fine. So as far as, personally because I know you've been obviously the interactive story you shared with us, that's your own piece. But you've been working on projects with clients for most of the year, this year.

Wyeth:
Yes.

Anna:
So obviously those are private projects and those things are there for you. You've been coming in, working with us, answering questions from other people, giving feedback and also I think just for yourself, discussing some things that were just as far as design things or approach things that were important to you.

Wyeth:
Yes.

Anna:
So as far as that personal professional pieces that you feel have been the most valuable for being a part of our community, is there something there that you'd like to identify that you found most valuable?

Wyeth:
Oh, my goodness. Yeah. Well this one, the latest project I'm on is rather large.

Anna:
I Guessed it.

Wyeth:
It's big. It's one of the bigger ones I've ever done. So what I really liked about it is, after I did the first project and I got the feedback from it, it was great. And I was like, okay, I've learned so much from this. I got a process, now's the test. And that for me was, I do it solo. Do it solo, take the techniques you learned, use the things that you're practicing with and apply them now in your own world. So that to me was the true test. And if anything, it was not only a test for me but a test for your system of developing e-learning scenarios.

Wyeth:
And my goodness, I'm telling you, my working relationship with not only stakeholders needs but everybody involved, everybody's excited to take calls now. Everybody's excited to take these meetings and collaborating because we're coming up with such great ideas. And this project that I'm working on right now, it's on inclusive and diversity in the workplace for LGBTQ+ individuals. So it was a breadth of topic. When I first approached it I'm like, holy smokes. There's a lot of content here. We got binders and binders and binders of content. I'm like, oh my goodness. And they wanted some micro lessons. Like, okay, well, if you want micro lessons, how many micro lessons do you want because we can anyway, the list could be endless on this.

Anna:
Mean, micro, macro?

Wyeth:
Exactly. Right? Yeah. Totally. And, oh my goodness it was a gong show almost. And so now we got into the kickoff meetings talking about, okay, so what do we want? What are we trying to get across here through the learners? All this regular stuff that usually do in a kickoff. Well, one thing I tried new was the introduction of developing stories around these concepts. Let's focus on developing an experience that people can (a) relate to and (b) can access the information in a way that makes sense to them. So it's not just a bunch of lists of terms and definitions. It's not just a bunch of content of this is what you should do for this particular situation. Or this is what you should include in the policy, whatever.

Wyeth:
No, let's develop some characters. Let's develop some characters that are real life, that people can understand and more importantly relate to. And almost create an emotional connection with these characters. They care about these characters. They have names, they have backgrounds all of that sort of stuff. So now when we come back to our kickoff meetings, collaboration meetings, we're talking about Kevin, we're talking about Jason, we're talking about Skylar. All these people that we've created and we're putting them in different situations. Like, well, how about we throw a Skylar into something like this and oh my God, what can happen? And it's really cool. It's a lot of fun.

Wyeth:
And now we've passed the test with flying colors Anna. You've passed the test of how you've trained me and showed me how to develop these stories. And I've passed the test and verifying for myself that these are wins. I am not crazy. I was never crazy. So it's just really, maybe a little bit. It's really made me more confident in how I approach my projects now.

Anna:
That's fun. And work should be fun, right?

Wyeth:
Yeah. Absolutely.

Anna:
People forget that. And that's why we get into freelancing so we can have autonomy, not that you can't have that in the real workplace but when somebody makes that transition, it is because you are looking for all these things. You are looking for that creativity. And to-

Wyeth:
Yes.

Anna:
I think a part of it I was also is just like, if I want to go learn that, I'm going to go learn that, that's my time. And I feel like a part of it for me as well was just, if I want to spend a week just digging deep into something, I could do that. So that's for me.

Wyeth:
Yeah, absolutely.

Anna:
Okay. So if you're, it's different because sometimes people phrase this differently but let's say if you're giving yourself advice, your self advice of you're just joining and this Interactive Storytelling Accelerator and you're like, Wyeth do this. What would it be? What would you say to yourself that you would do maybe differently or the same way? I don't know.

Wyeth:
Sure. Yeah. I'll go both ways then. First and foremost take this out and put it on the shelf. That way it opens everything up because I hate to say that I was a little stagnant and thinking of, this is the only way that I've ever developed e-learning. This can be the only way to develop e-learning. Take those biases away, take whatever you've learned about developing traditional e-learning and put it on the shelf. Don't put it away because there's valuable experience in that. But approaching it with a very open-minded and open concept and allowing yourself to have that space to be back at square one. I'm back in school now, what can you teach me? How differently is this process? And then approaching it with that open mind.

Wyeth:
And another piece of advice I would probably give myself when I first started out, no matter what you have either on paper, in a word document, anything, share it because the feedback that not only yourself and Ryan give but the community that you've developed, what they give because that experience is incredible. I'm seeing the people in this group coming with backgrounds in not only e-learning but storytelling. In their life experiences, in how they develop their characters because a lot of the characters that you develop in any e-learning stories come from yourself.

Anna:
Yeah.

Wyeth:
Because you have to have that experience to mirror off of. And you're thinking about those experiences. So being able to share that and learning from other people's feedback and their different sort of viewpoints, you'll never learn that on your own. Even if you've lived to a thousand there's certain experiences that you'd never come into contact with or you'd never have. But everybody in the group is different and they all have different experiences. So learn from them. And the only way to learn from them is to share your work because then they can maybe relate to a certain place in that story where they've had that happen to them. Okay, great. I want to hear all about it. I'd love to hear about that. Advice to my early former self is to share and share off.

Anna:
Cool. Great advice. I would give that advice too.

Wyeth:
Right?

Anna:
Yeah, absolutely. It's crazy. We grow through giving other people advice because it becomes a mirror. If you notice it in somebody else's work it usually means that you might be doing that but you just haven't noticed it yet.

Wyeth:
Right.

Anna:
So I find that that's, we're giving feedback because it's selfish.

Wyeth:
Sure. Yeah, absolutely. It's all what it is. You're benefiting from it.

Anna:
Totally. Every project I see I'm like, yup, I add that to my repertoire of like, ah, cool. Yeah. And it's neat to see how everybody's applying the same framework to their own context. Some stuff really surprises me. I'm still like what? That's awesome, right? Like I'm sure you do that. You're like really? That's wow. I never thought of that. Okay.

Wyeth:
You're very clever. Love it. Let me just, I'm just going to borrow that for a second.

Anna:
We get that a lot. We do that "model". We're going to "model" that.

Wyeth:
Exactly.

Anna:
Okay. So Wyeth now if people want to work with you-

Wyeth:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Anna:
Because you're an interactive storyteller of course, you can help them. Where should they go to learn more about your work and get in touch?

Wyeth:
Yeah, for sure. Well I have my own freelance company it's called Li'l Warrior Learning Experiences. Check out the website you'll understand why I called it that. But the website is www.lilwarrior.ca. I have a couple of little pieces up there. But if you want to learn more about what's possible and what we can develop as a team and whatever, please reach out. I'm always open for a talk about interactive e-learning stories and what we can develop. I love it. Just that collaboration spirit of it. Love it.

Anna:
Yeah. It comes through men. It's awesome. And also I'll put the link underneath the video to Lil Warrior so anybody can check it out.

Wyeth:
Yeah.

Anna:
Now, thank you. This was fun. It was fun hanging out.

Wyeth:
Well, thanks for the invitation. This is wonderful. I love it. Thank you. And thanks for setting up the course. I'm telling you guys, it'll change your life, it'll change the way you develop e-learning. And I'm not saying that just, there's no bias. Life-changing.

Anna:
Zero bias.

Wyeth:
Zero bias.

Apply To See If You Are A Good Fit For Our Services

Now that you know this makes sense and is totally doable, if you feel you're ready to STEP UP, then apply now and let's see how I can help BOOST your career by clicking below now...

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