A Project-based digital storytelling approach to improving students’ learning motivation, problem-solving competence and learning achievement
Researchers have found that several problems emerge when a project-based learning approach is applied to large classrooms. For instance, difficulties motivating students, concentrating on the learning tasks, making connections between new content and prior knowledge, and effectively engaging in cooperative learning activities. While technology has resolved many of the problems related to the efficiency of cooperative learning activates, barriers to project-based learning such as promoting motivation students' motivation and concentration on the learning tasks persist. Another challenge is the need for the development of an effective instructional strategy for conducting project-based learning activities. Researchers have identified storytelling as an effective approach to overcoming. For this reason, Hung et. al (2012) explain that their study "aims to propose a project-based digital storytelling approach, which combines project-based learning and digital storytelling strategies to conduct learning activities for elementary schools students" (pg. 369). The experiment conducted sought to verify the effects of a project-based digital storytelling approach on enhancing students' motivation, problem solving skills, and overall achievement.
Through a review of the related literature, Hung et. al (2012) presents several understandings about project-based learning. First, that project-based learning is an instructional strategy that appeals to students. Second, that project-based learning enhances collaboration and cooperation between group members, which in turn reinforces learning cognition, and promotes learning achievement. In addition to student appeal and enhanced collaboration and cooperation, understandings about the design of project-based learning experiences are discussed as well. For instance, scholars note that situations need to be established to guide students when designing project learning activities. In this study, Hung et. al (2012) integrate the digital storytelling strategy in the project-based learning approach.
Digital storytelling as a strategy integrates multimedia applications and software with digital storytelling techniques to help learners become involved in a learning situation. Hung et. al (2012) notes that in previous studies digital storytelling has been perceived as an effective strategy for encouraging cooperation and knowledge construction in classrooms. This study is one of significance because previous studies have not researched the effects of integrating digital storytelling and PBL on problem-solving competence and learning achievement. For this reason, this study investigates how digital storytelling can be implemented to develop PBL learning experiences that include taking pictures with digital cameras, developing a storyline using captured images, and producing a video with a soundtrack, and presenting the final product.
A pre-test and post-test designed quasi-experiment with non-equivalent groups was conducted. The different learning modes served as variables with the experimental group participating in PBL with digital storytelling and the control group experiencing the traditional approach to PBL. The science learning motivation scale, the problem solving competence scale, and the science course achievement test represented the dependent variables. In relation to the effect of project-based learning with digital storytelling on science learning motivations the score of the experimental group proved to be superior to the control group. Hung et. al (2012) explains that the score shows that the project-based learning with digital storytelling could effectively enhance the science learning motivation of the students. Similarly, the effect of project-based learning with digital storytelling on problem-solving competence proved to be superior for the experimental group. From this result, Hung et. al (2012) again draws the conclusion that digital storytelling can effectively enhance the problem-solving competence of the students. Finally, the results reveal that project-based learning with digital storytelling can also effectively enhance science learning achievement of the students. No significant differences were found when looking at the results in relation to gender.
Hung et. al (2012) concludes with a discussion of the limitations noting it could be difficult to generalize the findings to other courses or subjects because this study was done in an elementary school science course. The software used in this study was also highly structured. More research would need to be done how the effects of PBL with digital storytelling using flexible software applications.
.Hung et. al (2012) begin the introduction with a broad problem in the field. Specifically, they explain that "researchers have tried to develop various computerized systems or guiding strategies to assist students in improving their learning performance" (pg. 368). However, effective instruction is required to cultivate key competences of students--especially instruction that leverages technology to promote student-centered learning. A comprehensive review of related project-based learning and digital storytelling literature from the proceeding decade follows. A pre-test and post-test designed quasi-experiment with non-equivalent groups using the different learning modes as the independent variables brings into question whether the characteristics of the participants in the elementary science course provide a different explanation for the outcomes. This is because in nonequivalent group designs researchers select groups that appear similar.
I found the investigation into the effects of a project-based digital storytelling approach on enhancing students' motivation, problem solving skills, and overall achievement interesting. Having taught a digital literacy and media design course that embraced PBL for ten years, I could relate to the difficulties that with implementing project based learning that were outlined n the introduction and review of related literature. Project-based learning places the teacher in the role of the guide on the side while students engage in inquiry and grapple with complex problems. This type of learning environment can be very engaging for some students, while other students tend to find the lack of structure overwhelming and experience difficulty focusing on the learning goals. Hung et. al (2012) note that the results of this study might be difficult to generalize because the technology used in the study was highly structured. Given that the ISTE Standards for Students promote students choosing their own technology applications based on a target audience and their message, I would be interested in finding out if the results of this study could be replicated when students are able to choose the technology they use to engage in the process of digital storytelling.
Hung, C. M., Hwang, G. J., & Huang, I. (2012). A Project-based digital storytelling approach to improving students’ learning motivation, problem-solving competence and learning achievement. Educational Technology & Society, 15(4), 368–379.