Using Digital Storytelling and Game-Based Learning to Increase Student Engagement and Connect Theory with Practice


  • Bruce Gillespie Wilfrid Laurier University



game-based learning, digital storytelling, student engagement, first-year students, journalism


Research shows that high levels of engagement help students learn more effectively, feel better about their learning, and improve retention rates. One reason why students report low engagement is a perceived disconnect between theory (what they learn in class) and practice (what happens in the outside world). This paper reports on the results of a small-scale SoTL experiment that increased engagement in a first-year journalism course through the creation of a bespoke interactive web series composed of short videos and choose-your-own-adventure games that immersed students in real-world scenarios. It also offers reflections on the opportunities and challenges of using digital games and storytelling for learning and opportunities for engaging students as partners.


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Author Biography

Bruce Gillespie, Wilfrid Laurier University

Bruce Gillespie is an associate professor of Digital Media and Journalism and a teaching fellow at Wilfrid Laurier University (CAN). His work explores journalism ethics, methodology, and pedagogy.


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Students acting and filiming for academic content.




How to Cite

Gillespie, Bruce. 2022. “Using Digital Storytelling and Game-Based Learning to Increase Student Engagement and Connect Theory With Practice”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 10 (April).