appropriate dialogue balloons and narration boxes. As a more general solution for visualizing scenarios relevant to a broader set of tasks and organizations, we have found that contemporary “life simulation” computer games (e.g. The Sims, by Electronic Arts) provide an ample array tools for quickly creating scenes of customized characters in custom environments, and for exporting screen captures of these scenes for use in new Fourth Frame Forum episodes. Figure 1 shows a proof-of- concept comic authored in a couple of hours using this approach.
Figure 1: A Fourth Frame Forum visualized using scenes from a computer game
Achieving the vision of fully automated story management for organizational learning presented in section 1 will require overcoming many remaining technical challenges. However, there are key processes that can be automated to lessen the development costs of story-based learning environments, making them practical as an extremely mediated form of organizational storytelling. In this paper, we described research efforts to develop three complimentary story-management technologies for reducing the costs associated with collecting organizational stories, retrieving stories relevant to organizational learning needs, and transforming these stories into computer-based education that supports situated learning and guided instruction in a multimedia narrative environment. There remains a need for technology that can automatically capture stories from conversational speech, but we have demonstrated that stories can be extracted from extremely large text corpora with reasonable accuracy. Likewise, we have shown that finding relevant stories can be viewed as a text retrieval task using activity-based queries, but these techniques are not applicable to non-textual story collections and do not service retrieval needs based on the specific points of stories in the collection. Finally, Fourth Frame Forums offer an extremely low-cost solution for authoring story-based learning environments, but still requires the effort of a training developer or instructor. Collectively, these technologies allow a single training developer, over the course of a single day, to search through stories collected from the weblogs of members of an organization, identify ones that are relevant to specific organizational tasks, and author (and deliver) an effective story-based learning environment for immediate use throughout the organization.