Personal stories from science more memorable than facts alone

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham has an interesting post about a study showing that middle school students remembered the information in a text about Galileo or Marie Curie significantly better if the information was presented in the form of a personal story about the scientist’s struggles rather than the typical textbook expository style. We professional storytellers, especially science journalists, have long believed that was the case.

You don’t have to think of narrative just as the story of an individual or group of people; you can think more abstractly conflict, complications, and the eventual resolution of conflict as the core of narrative structure.
I prefer to think of narrative in this broader sense because it is more flexible, and gives teachers more options, and also better captures the aspects of narrative structure that I suspect are behind the advantage conferred.