Using Digital Storytelling and Game-Based Learning to Increase Student Engagement and Connect Theory with Practice
Keywords: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.
Ainley, Mary. 2012. “Students’ Interest and Engagement in Classroom Activities.” In Handbook of Research on Student Engagement, edited by Sandra L. Christenson, Amy L. Reschly, and Cathy Wylie, 283–302. New York: Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Ambrose, Susan A., Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha C. Lovett, and Marie K. Norman. 2010. How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Aparicio, Gloria, Txomin Iturralde, and Amaia Maseda. 2021. “A Holistic Bibliometric Overview of the Student Engagement Research Field.” Journal of Further and Higher Education 45 (4): 540–57. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2020.1795092.
Bovill, Catherine, Cathy J. Bulley, and Kate Morss. 2011. “Engaging and Empowering First-Year Students through Curriculum Design: Perspectives from the Literature.” Teaching in Higher Education 16 (2): 197–209. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2010.515024.
Braun, Virginia, and Victoria Clarke. 2006. “Using Thematic Analysis in Psychology.” Qualitative Research in Psychology 3 (2): 77–101. https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa.
“Canada’s National Observer.” n.d. Canada’s National Observer. Accessed October 28, 2021. https://www.nationalobserver.com/front.
Charmaz, Kathy. 2000. “Grounded Theory: Objectivist and Constructivist Methods.” In The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research, edited by Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln, 509–35. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Charmaz, Kathy. 2006. Constructing Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide through Quantitative Analysis. 2nd edition. Introducing Qualitative Methods. London: Sage Publications.
Costikyan, Greg. 2013. Uncertainty in Games. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Couture, Toby. 2013. “Without Favour: The Concentration of Ownership in New Brunswick’s Print Media Industry.” Canadian Journal of Communication 38 (1): 57–81. https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2013v38n1a2578.
Deterding, Sebastian. 2016. “Make-Believe in Gameful and Playful Design.” In Digital Make-Believe, edited by Phil Turner and J. Tuomas Harviainen, 101–24. Human-Computer Interaction Series. Cham: Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-29553-4_7.
Dieleman, Hans, and Don Huisingh. 2006. “Games by Which to Learn and Teach about Sustainable Development: Exploring the Relevance of Games and Experiential Learning for Sustainability.” Journal of Cleaner Production 14 (9–11): 837–47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2005.11.031.
Dörner, Ralf, Stefan Göbel, Wolfgang Effelsberg, and Josef Wiemeyer. 2016. “Introduction.” In Serious Games, edited by Ralf Dörner, Stefan Göbel, Wolfgang Effelsberg, and Josef Wiemeyer, 1–34. Cham: Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-40612-1_1.
Felten, Peter. 2013. “Principles of Good Practice in SoTL.” Teaching & Learning Inquiry 1: 5. https://doi.org/10.2979/teachlearninqu.1.1.121.
Finn, Jeremy D., and Kayla S. Zimmer. 2012. “Student Engagement: What Is It? Why Does It Matter?” In Handbook of Research on Student Engagement, edited by Sandra L. Christenson, Amy L. Reschly, and Cathy Wylie, 97–131. New York: Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Fredricks, Jennifer A., Phyllis C. Blumenfeld, and Alison H. Paris. 2004. “School Engagement: Potential of the Concept, State of the Evidence.” Review of Educational Research 74 (1): 59–109. https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543074001059.
Kember, David, and Paul Ginns. 2012. Evaluating Teaching and Learning. Routledge.
Klimas, Chris. 2009. Twine. https://twinery.org/.
Landis, J.R., and G.G. Koch. 1977. “The Measurement of Observer Agreement for Categorical Data.” Biometrics 33: 159–74.
Lindgren, April, Jon Corbett, and Jaigris Hodson. 2020. “Mapping Change in Canada’s Local News Landscape: An Investigation of Research Impact on Public Policy.” Digital Journalism 8 (6): 758–79. https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2020.1724516.
Löffler, Emanuel, Bettina Schneider, Trupti Zanwar, and Petra Maria Asprion. 2021. “CySecEscape 2.0—A Virtual Escape Room To Raise Cybersecurity Awareness.” International Journal of Serious Games 8 (1): 59–70. https://doi.org/10.17083/ijsg.v8i1.413.
Maguire, Moira, and Brid Delahunt. 2017. “Doing a Thematic Analysis: A Practical, Step-by-Step Guide for Learning and Teaching Scholars.” All Ireland Journal of Higher Education 8 (3): 15.
McCarthy, Tom. 2015. Spotlight. Open Road Films.
Nadolny, Larysa, and Andrea Halabi. 2016. “Student Participation and Achievement in a Large Lecture Course With Game-Based Learning.” Simulation & Gaming 47 (1): 51–72. https://doi.org/10.1177/1046878115620388.
Picton, Catherine, Ella R. Kahu, and Karen Nelson. 2018. “‘Hardworking, Determined and Happy’: First-Year Students’ Understanding and Experience of Success.” Higher Education Research & Development 37 (6): 1260–73. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2018.1478803.
Ray, Billy. 2003. Shattered Glass. Lions Gate Films.
Robinson, Andrew M., and Michelle Goodridge. 2021. “Objective Assessment of Pedagogical Effectiveness and the Human Rights Foreign Policy Simulation Game.” Journal of Political Science Education 17 (2): 213–33. https://doi.org/10.1080/15512169.2019.1623048.
Scholz, Kyle W., Jolanta N. Komornicka, and Andrew Moore. 2021. “Gamifying History: Designing and Implementing a Game-Based Learning Course Design Framework.” Teaching & Learning Inquiry 9 (1): 99–116. https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.9.1.9.
Skinner, Ellen A., and Jennifer R. Pitzer. 2012. “Developmental Dynamics of Student Engagement, Coping, and Everyday Resilience.” In Handbook of Research on Student Engagement, edited by Sandra L. Christenson, Amy L. Reschly, and Cathy Wylie, 21–44. New York: Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-2018-7_2.
Sword, Helen. 2019. “The First Person.” Teaching & Learning Inquiry 7 (1): 182–90. https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.7.1.12.
Taylor, Murray, Mauricio Marrone, Mark Tayar, and Beate Mueller. 2018. “Digital Storytelling and Visual Metaphor in Lectures: A Study of Student Engagement.” Accounting Education 27 (6): 552–69. https://doi.org/10.1080/09639284.2017.1361848.
“The Discourse.” n.d. The Discourse. Accessed October 28, 2021. https://thediscourse.ca/.
“The Narwhal.” n.d. The Narwhal. Accessed October 28, 2021. http://thenarwhal.ca.
“The Pointer.” n.d. The Pointer. Accessed October 28, 2021. https://thepointer.com.
Tinto, Vincent. 2012. “Enhancing Student Success: Taking the Classroom Success Seriously.” The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education 3 (1): 1–8. https://doi.org/10.5204/intjfyhe.v3i1.119.
Trottier, David. 2014. The Screenwriter’s Bible. 6th ed. Los Angeles: Silman-James Press.
Webb, Angela W. 2015. “Agriscience Teachers’ Implementation of Digital Game-Based Learning in an Introductory Animal Science Course.” Journal of Science Education and Technology, 24: 888–97.
Westera, Wim, Rob J. Nadolski, Hans G.K. Hummel, and Iwan G.J.H. Wopereis. 2008. “Serious Games for Higher Education: A Framework for Reducing Design Complexity: Serious Games Design Framework.” Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 24 (5): 420–32. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2729.2008.00279.x.
Whalen, Katherine A., Cecilia Berlin, Johanna Ekberg, Ilaria Barletta, and Peter Hammersberg. 2018. “‘All They Do Is Win’: Lessons Learned from Use of a Serious Game for Circular Economy Education.” Resources, Conservation and Recycling 135 (August): 335–45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2017.06.021.
Whitton, Nicola. 2012. “The Place of Game-Based Learning in an Age of Austerity” 10 (2): 9.
Zepke, Nick. 2015. “Student Engagement Research: Thinking beyond the Mainstream.” Higher Education Research & Development 34 (6): 1311–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2015.1024635.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Bruce Gillespie
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.