, Volume 60, Issue 5, pp 465–474 | Cite as

Exploring the Use of Interactive Digital Storytelling Video: Promoting Student Engagement and Learning in a University Hybrid Course

  • Catharyn C. SheltonEmail author
  • Annie E. Warren
  • Leanna M. Archambault
Original Paper


This study explores interactive digital storytelling in a university hybrid course. Digital stories leverage imagery and narrative-based content to explore concepts, while appealing to millennials. When digital storytelling is used as the main source of course content, tensions arise regarding how to engage and support student learning while holding them accountable for watching the video. We explore interactive video as a way to mitigate and engage with these issues. The context is a hybrid sustainability course for preservice teachers that used digital stories in a conventional format in which students could start, stop, and pause the video at will, as well as an interactive format with all the same features, plus programmed pauses for required understanding checks. A survey of students (n = 223) indicated they believed interactive digital stories supported engagement, scaffolded learning, and increased learning gains, but did not increase accountability. Evaluation of quiz performance indicated they recalled significantly more with interactive videos, compared to conventional videos. Implications for practice are discussed.


Digital storytelling Higher education Hybrid Interactive video Student engagement Sustainability education 



The authors and the research development team at the Biodesign Institute thank Arizona State University (ASU) for the generous Strategic Initiative Funds (SIF) provided to form the Sustainability Science Education Project, to develop the Sustainability Science for Teachers course, and other related projects at ASU. The Project was developed under the leadership of Dr. Lee Hartwell. We thank the Center for Sustainable Health at the Biodesign Institute, the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, the School of Sustainability, and the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes located at Arizona State University for advice and many experienced students who helped with the project. A special heartfelt thank you to all current and past Sustainability Science Education Project team members, colleagues, instructors, students, participants, and friends.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications & Technology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catharyn C. Shelton
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Annie E. Warren
    • 2
    • 3
  • Leanna M. Archambault
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Mary Lou Fulton Teachers CollegeArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.School for the Future of Innovation in SocietyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  3. 3.Biodesign Institute’s Sustainability Science Education ProjectArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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