There’s no better way to learn storytelling than from people who have developed several storylines for several years. When they share their techniques and methods of developing stories and characters that are very relatable, what you should do is listen and take notes.
Virtually all of the best online storytelling courses reviewed in this article are taught by some of the most versatile storytellers of our time. The storylines used in their work are some of the most innovative and thrilling pieces ever. Definitely, all writers can learn a thing or two from the various styles adopted by these industry experts.
With that said, let’s dive right into our compilation of the best online storytelling courses.
9 Best Online Storytelling Courses 2021
Coursera boasts some of the most comprehensive courses on language and writing. The Leadership communication for maximum impact is one of such brilliant courses. It delves into the use of storytelling in everyday communication and how to harness the power of intrigue to make impact in various sectors.
Effective leaders inspire others to reach their full potential. This is where stories come into play. Being able to deliver a clear message using relatable characters and real life experiences is vital for workplace productivity. The narrative you choose is very important to how your audience would perceive the information provided.
This course is structured to open your eyes to the vital components of storytelling. Helping you see the importance of stories and why we all need to tell our stories. This is related to leadership, communication, innovation, and crisis management. All of this knowledge is also applicable to branding and other social interaction through the media.
Four thought leaders from the Medill School of Journalism were gathered by Northwestern University to put this course together. That should give you a rough idea of how loaded this course is. The instructors are Tom Collinger, Ernest Duplessis, Nud Englehart, and Candy Lee. Each of them covers a specific area of storytelling and communication as a whole.
Over 47,000 students have enrolled for this program often as part of the communication and language specialization. And the vast majority of them have attested to the quality content put out here. It boasts a strong 4.5 star rating. Completing this course would set your career path on a new trajectory by harnessing the power of storytelling.
- Over 4 hours of video training
- Scheduled to be completed in 4 weeks
- Graded quizzes included with feedback
- Shareable certificate
2. Edx: The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture
Comic books have become an integral part of today’s society. From the use of superheroes in everyday conversations, these characters are quite significant in today’s American culture. How did the Smithsonians develop their characters and develop into stories that relay what our society believes and adopts? This course takes you through the nitty-gritty of that.
edX through the SmithsonianX institution hosts the legendary Stan Lee creator of Spiderman® comics among many other Avengers characters. Also on the course is Michael Uslan and David Uslan, original creators of the Batman franchise, among other DC comics characters. The trio go in-depth into the art and craft of developing relatable superhero characters and the role these play in our culture.
In this course, you will learn the history and origin of superheroes during the early 1900s, how the American culture has been portrayed through the eyes of a comic character, choosing villains alongside their background stories, how to capture today’s society into your writing, and how to make your story flow from your experiences and worldview.
Over 33,000 students have enrolled for this course so far and the reviews have been largely impressive. To start this course is free. There are assignments, quizzes, and practical sessions included in the course. Some peer-reviewed, others instructor graded, either way, they are well set to help you develop into a better storyteller.
- Estimated 6 weeks of completion
- Self-paced course
- About 10 hours of video material
- Paid certification available
- Support and feedback included
3. MasterClass - Storytelling by Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie is one these veteran writers with a peculiar writing style that sort of defies genre. He mashes a bit of the imaginative into reality in his storytelling. In this MasterClass, he delves into the craft of character development and building stories.
Salman Rushdie is a Booker Prize award winner and has published several books through the years many of which are best sellers. Some have also been adopted into movies. Most popular of them being Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses.
In all of Salman’s work, you’ll see a blend of historical facts into fictional narratives. All finely knit together to give a masterpiece in its storytelling and communication of ideas. This is a style that can be adopted by any writer; using fiction and stories to push a strong idea or a controversial perspective. Learning how Salman does his work would definitely help your writing become better.
- 19 lessons included
- Over 4 hours of video training
- Certification attached
4. Edx: Storytelling in the Workplace
Here is another quality writing course on edX. This time it’s aimed at teaching career persons and professionals the art of storytelling in the workplace. It also borders on using intrigue to carry a brand message to her audience.
In this course, Ammina Kothari, an associate professor from the Rochester Institute of Tech, Faculty of Communications, delves into the use of stories in the corporate scene. She introduces the need for a clear and relatable message in branding.
She also touches on how to use effective storytelling that resonates with talent in the workplace, an amazing tool to boost effectiveness. You also get to learn how to structure messages using personal style, tone, and point of view. This is a great tool for writers and speakers as well.
- Over 7,000 students enrolled
- To be completed in 3 weeks
- 4 – 6 hours of video scheduled per week
- In course assessments, quizzes and projects
- Paid certification attached
5. Udemy: Storytelling to Influence
Influence is a powerful tool in business and life generally. Most individuals and businesses alike are concerned with expanding their sphere of influence using various persuasion tools. One of such tools is storytelling – a very effective one at that. This course is set to teach students how to craftily use powerful stories in boosting their influence.
In this Udemy course, Jeff Tan teaches how he has deployed storytelling in his career as a coach and speaker. He focuses on delivery and persuasion in his approach to storytelling. In the lectures, he picks out important points to consider if you’re going to influence people and tell your story.
This course teaches you how to present with power, capturing attention, inspiring an audience, confident delivery, leading an audience, and clear message presentation, all with the use of a well-crafted story. If you’re an aspiring orator, or you frequent meetings where you have to do a presentation, then this course would be of great relevance to you.
- 1 hour of video training
- 8 downloadable resources and 24 lectures
- Rating of 4.3 from 5
- Over 37,500 students taught
6. MasterClass: Storytelling by Neil Gaiman
This course is another masterpiece from MasterClass, this time from the stable of Neil Gaiman, the veteran book and movie writer. In this series, he delivers a complete guide to turning a complete beginner into a pro writer.
Neil Gaiman is a great writer who has explored several uncharted territories when it comes to writing and storytelling. His books have been criticized for several years and they still remain some of the best literature pieces available today. His book Coraline is listed among the top 100 books of the 21st century by The Guardian. So, when you learn from this man in his MasterClass, you should know the value you are about to get.
The course takes you through the process of finding your unique voice, drawing inspiration for characters, adding humor to your writing, dealing with mental blocks, editing, among several other responsibilities of the writer.
- 4 hours, 49 minutes of video lectures
- Available online with lifetime access
- Discussion with instructor and other learners
7. Coursera: Powerful Tools for Teaching and Learning: Digital Storytelling
Here is another storytelling course on Coursera; Digital storytelling – Powerful tools for teaching and learning. This class is offered by the University of Houston and offers a certification award from the institution upon completion.
This course is designed to train teachers in elementary and high schools how to train kids using more stories and by sharing relatable experiences. How to make this work is by combining the lessons with digital presentation. You learn how to use animations, images, pictures, etc., to pass across the message.
The two instructors on this course are vast in the communication arts. Bernard Robin and Sara G. McNeil, who are both lecturers at the University of Houston take a unilateral approach to ensure students of this course understand the impact of stories and use them appropriately.
- Good rating of 4.6
- Over 43,000 students enrolled
- About 14 hours of lecture
- Schedule for completion in 5 weeks
- Quizzes and assessments included
8. Khan Academy: Unit: The art of storytelling
This course is a free online storytelling course on Khan Academy. It is an introductory piece into the world of storytelling as a writer.
This course details the struggle of the writer in coming up with stories that conveys the message and draws the reader or listener into the world of the characters. The Pixar crew break down the entire process of curating a captivating story as they deliver this training.
- Six lessons included
- Over 42 videos to audit
- Assessments and practical guides to implementation included
9. Udemy: The Complete Storytelling Course for Speaking & Presenting
This Udemy course completes our list of the best storytelling courses available online. Instructed by award-winning international speaker, TJ Walker. This course is nothing shy of awesome. Whether you’re a writer or an orator, this class was made to make you realize how much stories are integral to your work.
This class covers the philosophy of curating stories, how to breathe life onto the pages through personal tone and style of delivery. He also touches on plot building and development, how to write opening lines, conceiving characters, and exploring your worldview in writing. This class is no doubt a masterpiece.
The course has a good number of case studies and scenarios used to teach the appropriate use of stories as a tool for communication. After this course, you can be sure to be more deliberate with your message delivery when speaking or writing.
- Overall rating of 4.5 and a bestseller tag
- Over 30,000 students enrolled
- 29 hours of video training
- 6 downloadable resources
In all, storytelling has a vital part to play in our everyday life; as a career person, a teacher, a public speaker, or a writer, we all have different stories to tell. Being able to put these stories together and make the audience experience it as well is what these courses seek to teach. Whichever your area of specialization is, there is a course in here to set you on course.
That said, the Coursera Storytelling for Maximum Impact course is a choice pick from this list. The course starts from the basics of communication and touches several aspects of storytelling for impact which something every storyteller would find useful.
If you like storytelling, you should check online courses on speed reading.