101 The Power of Story in the New Jungle of Work

8:25 AM - 9:30 AM Wednesday, September 28

Do you feel it? That palpable dis-ease that something is still not quite right with the world. We got the memo; there's no rolling back to life before Covid. On our cosmic Titanic, holding our breath as we collectively mask our fear, we lean across the fragile helm of provisional normalcy, straining to spot a ray of hope amidst the storm clouds of a looming recession, a great resignation, and a lingering pandemic hangover.

As L&D professionals, we told our organizations a story that helped them re-imagine what learning could be in a lockdown—and then we made it happen. We used stories to prepare our workforce for unprecedented changes in how they would learn in the new jungle of work. Through webcams, we cast a vision of what could be as our learners wrestled with learning, unlearning, and relearning during a time when it felt like our world was spinning out of control. And now, we peer through our harbinger spyglass, straining to make sense of the signs.

In this session, at the helms of our virtual ships, we will explore the power of story in a VUCA world. We'll unfold our maps and journey into the regions of the brain associated with learning and story. Next, we’ll examine the impact of stress on the learning brain, survey how stress affects emotional intelligence, and peek into the story wars learners are battling in their minds every day as they navigate an uncertain future.

Steadying ourselves as we consider the implications for our learning solutions, we'll shift our gaze to story alchemy and consider how we can use this ancient craft once again to design compelling learning experiences that act as a guide for our learners on their heroes’ journey. We will brave the swells of challenging topics and explore how to craft authentic stories that resonate and help our learners self-reflect, learn, grow, connect, and thrive in a changing world. We will step back, look up, and take a deep breath as we marvel at the constellation of stories twinkling in the night sky, just waiting to be used in our next learning project.

Karen Davis

President and CEO

The Optimal Performance Group

Karen Davis, president and CEO of The Optimal Performance Group, has been designing and facilitating training programs for almost twenty years. As an instructional designer for both eLearning courses and virtual instructor-led training programs, Karen understands the challenge of creating performance- driven content that is interactive and engaging. She has been an online producer since 2007, including for The eLearning Guild’s Online Forums, and has coached many speakers on how to create a virtual space of optimal learning for their audiences.

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