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How to Convert AI-Generated Stories into an Immersive Experience with ThingLink

Andreas Fischer

Sabine Römer and Sarah Görlich are part of the e-learning department at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany. Together, they form a dynamic partnership that pioneers innovative approaches to education, transcending conventional teaching methods.

A primary focus is the incorporation of gamified and blended learning strategies. Their broad background helps them complement their knowledge in diverse ways to realize engaging workshops, training sessions, and lectures. Beside extensive practical experiences, Sarah followed studies in media science in Germany, and Sabine completed a master’s degree in e-education in Austria. Nowadays, they collaboratively lead nationwide workshops focusing on small coaching projects with teachers and students to introduce them to gamified educational practices and tools.

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Growing Interest in Immersive Learning

Over the years, Sabine and Sarah perceived the visible trend toward an increased implementation of digital tools in education to allow learning to become immersive and unlock a different potential in engagement. At the same time, students showed a similar interest in exploring new technology. To grow within the space, they acquired skills in employing multimedia tools while conveying essential course material in personalized learning situations. Their goal was to generate learning content that becomes alive and graspable through modern technology, such as stories turning into an immersive and interactive experience.

“Combine a book with an animated illustration through augmented reality, and suddenly it comes alive, and you can really see it and “grasp” the content.”

  • Sabine Römer

Although working with different applications and solutions, ThingLink provided an excellent platform to additionally support their vision. The duo started creating brief stories using AI tools and honing them to match their ideas and notions. Those narratives were then later transformed into immersive environments on ThingLink using 360° images and scenarios. They quickly found this approach helpful in anchoring knowledge through engaging visual content and, subsequently, recalling information more easily. In their opinion, both educators and students showed a higher level of active engagement and an increased aptitude, especially when given the opportunity to create immersive content themselves.

“You notice that it’s a different level of enthusiasm. It’s fun, inspiring and is very well received by the educators. So far, we’ve actually received only positive feedback about our workshops, because it’s something different and not perhaps the classic test, but also a little more upbeat.”

  • Sarah Görlich

Explore one of the environments below, featuring an AI created story about ‘The Mysterious Fortune Teller’ in a linear structured ThingLink scenario! The scenario builder and conditional transitioning contributed to guiding learning and increasing the achievement of set objectives. 

Amplify Storytelling in Education using AI and ThingLink

Sabine and Sarah believe that stories play a crucial role in creating excellent experiences, especially in gamification of learning. Ultimately, those translate information into a captivating vessel to bridge the gap between content and learners’ imagination. Modern AI tools help them in the process of quickly creating story templates featuring their ideas which easily can be modified according to their needs. Similarly, key terms from the content are utilized to generate 360° images on ThingLink using 360 AI Image Generation Skybox and furnish an environment through embedded story information and additional multimedia sources.

“You can simply recreate the setting in a 360°-degree environment to suit your needs and the story. Now when we show people a 360° image, especially a generated virtual world, everyone always finds it very cool. I especially like that it is not limited to certain devices.”

  • Sabine Römer

In their example story of ‘The Mysterious Fortune Teller’, Sabine and Sarah generated a brief story outline utilizing ChatGPT and transferred the narrative into several ThingLink environments that they interconnected into a single self-explorative world.

A similar approach was applied in multiple workshops to university students and colleagues. GameOn is one example of a holistic course they designed for the Rub University to introduce storytelling with AI tools in game-based learning. ThingLink features the platform for creating virtual escape rooms based on the generated narratives like ‘The Magical Forest of Eldorien’.

Transforming AI-Generated Stories with ThingLink into Interactive Environments – Step by Step Guide

  1. Determine the background topic, theme, or idea.
  2. Identify and set a story context (e.g., characters, setting, scenario, characteristics).
  3. Generate a story based on the context using an AI tool (e.g., ChatGPT).
  4. Revisit the story draft and modify it through additional input to the AI tool or with manual effort.
  5. Decide the learning model or pedagogical approach (e.g., gamification).
  6. Divide the story into smaller scenes depending on the size and revise the different parts to make them specific enough for better targeted image generation.
  7. Generate 2D or 360° images using the AI in ThingLink or generation tools by inserting story part specific terms.
  8. Embed additional content and multimedia through icons.
  9. Compile the story by combining the environments with, for example, conditional transitioning or the scenario builder.

Additional possibilities feasible with ThingLink:

Involve physical environments into stories by embedding ThingLink hotspots onto two-dimensional real-world objects and let users explore the story via the AR-application.

User Feedback and Results from the Workshops

  • Educators reluctant to use new tools were amazed by the ease of generating captivating stories and amplifying learning experience through an immersive touch. Their interest particularly increased after exploring the tools themselves.
  • Time and effort spent on creating engaging activities were significantly reduced.
  • Some teachers refurbished existing courses and material using the introduced tools and platforms to propel deep-learning experiences.
  • Old local narratives were brought alive through immersive experiences and provided a sense of revisiting different eras.
  • Personal interest and style were easily realized into the learning activities through the tools.

Future Use Cases

Sabine and Sarah are currently developing a project titled ‘Active Lunch Break,’ leveraging ThingLink. This initiative aims to guide users through an interactive environment, enabling them to explore a variety of exercises to integrate movement into their daily work life. The project encompasses numerous examples, ranging from meditation to breathing techniques, and is designed to support office and administration staff.

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