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Transmedia – Immersive Storytelling for Learning

September 15, 2010

Imagine a learning tedx transmediaexperience that is truly participatory; that doesn’t focus on a linear narrative but, instead, is a rich weave of stories from a number of different media and platforms; that immerses its audience fully in the story, making them part of the learning experience. This is Transmedia Learning, or it could be….

Transmedia is the current hot Hollywood buzz word. It’s being hailed as the future of storytelling where the story isn’t just a two hour film but is woven into a network of films, shorts, comic books, web sites, blogs, games and more in a way that is complementary, with each media platform contributing to the story as it does best.

How can we apply this to learning is one of my key interests at the moment. I’m attending the TEDx Transmedia conference in Geneva in a few weeks where the leading lights in transmedia will be talking to what I believe are the Swiss equivalent to the BBC. I’m gatecrashing the conference with my “transmedia for learning” agenda to learn all I can and soundboard some of my ideas with the experts.

Initially my thoughts are this: I don’t see transmedia learning approaches being great for corporate elearning. Most corporates are risk averse and just want more of the same training that they’ve had before (it doesn’t matter that it’s ineffective and costly and no one learns from it). I suspect transmedia will work well with highly connected audiences (digital natives of all ages) and those with a particular interest e.g. sci-fi, history, art and so forth.

Making money from transmedia seems to be the difficult thing, though I have a few ideas (which I won’t share here!). However I have as great a passion for fiction and films as I do for teaching and learning. Finding a way to combine the two is certainly worth investigating! I’ll report back from TEDx Transmedia in October.


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