Student-centred transmedia inspired language learning projects

James Reid, Yuka Hirata, Filippo Gilardi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This paper describes how Generation Y's digital know-how and multi-media competence can be co-opted for use in student-centered learning environments by employing Transmedia Storytelling - a participatory narrative approach using multi-media to explore a given universe. In the two projects described the given universes are lexical and grammatical teaching areas in French and Japanese. Students created multiple media products to investigate these teaching areas
and then participated in analyzing and improving said products using Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and blogs moderated by their tutors. The subjects of the study were two classes of Chinese 2nd year and 3rd year students at University of Nottingham Ningbo China. The students majored in International Business, International Studies and International Communications and minored in French and Japanese respectively. Each class spent approximately 1 semester of 10 weeks designing and improving the media products they had created and commenting and reviewing these products on the VLEs and blogs. Most of the time spent on the projects was allocated self-study time rather than class time. The methodology was to use the Transmedia Storytelling concept to motivate students to create their own media products to help others learn a given teaching point. The other explicit goal was to give the students a virtual space in which to express and improve their creativity, digital literacy, general knowledge of the target languages’ culture and vocabulary, collaborative problem-solving and interpersonal skills. The Transmedia Storytelling concept was incorporated as a method to promote active learning, widely seen as more effective than passive learning, and was aligned with Howard Gardner’s concept of Multiple Intelligences, which argues that different learning styles suit those with differing profiles in at least eight separate categories of intelligence, and
should therefore be incorporated in teaching contexts. The results show that the students were able to create sophisticated media products ranging from multi-genre films to re-mixed songs and computer games, and that from the comments posted on the blogs and elicited after the project, they had fun while also improving a number of important key competences that are often outside
the domain of language learning. We suggest that if well-moderated, the Transmedia Storytelling concept can be usefully extended to other subjects and therefore provide those students who have different learning styles and different intelligence profiles the opportunity to fully engage in projects that tap into their own experiences of social networking and digital creation. And for
those students who are not already skilled at using social media and digital technology, Transmedia Storytelling projects give them an opportunity to learn these skills from their peers while engaged in a group project with clearly defined aims.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Asian Conference on Technology in the Classroom 2011
PublisherThe International Academic Forum (IAFOR)
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • E-Learning
  • French
  • Japanese
  • Multiple Intelligences Theory
  • Participatory Cultures
  • Student Autonomy
  • Student-Centered
  • Transmedia Storytelling


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