Applying digital storytelling in the medical oncology curriculum: Effects on students’achievement and critical thinking

Afagh Zarei, Rita Mojtahedzade, Aeen Mohammadi, JOHN SANDARS, Amir Hossein Emami*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)
    172 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: Digital storytelling (DST), which combines traditional storytelling with digital tools, can provide a narrative pedagogy that promotes critical thinking (CT). However, we found no previous study in medical education.
    Materials and methods: The aim of the study was to investigate if DST can promote CT and, if so, which CT skills were improved. Thirty-two students participated in a non-equivalent control group pretest-posttest research study, with 16 in each group. The participants were fifth-year medical students on a hematology rotation. We compared the routine instructional method (control group) with DST (intervention group). The measures of CT used for the pre- and post-test in both groups was the Health Science Reasoning Test (HRST) and knowledge test. We also evaluated the satisfaction of the students in DST group. We used Paired and independent t-tests for comparing the mean scores. To eliminate the confounding effect of pre-test on the results of the intervention, the ANCOVA test was used.
    Results: There was no significant difference in the overall CT pretest scores (P-value= 0.51) between the control and intervention groupsbut the difference was significant for the post-test scores (P-value= 0.03). Although post-test scores showed a significant increase (P-value= 0.002) compared to pre-test scores in the intervention group, no significant increase was observed in the control group (P-value= 0.26). Most students considered that DST improved their CT, deep learning, communication skills and team-working.
    Conclusions: The study demonstrated that DST promoted CT. We recommend the use of DST to promote CT in clinical education placements.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number102528
    Pages (from-to)102528
    JournalAnnals of Medicine and Surgery
    Issue number102528
    Early online date29 Jun 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


    • Digital storytelling
    • critical thinking
    • medical education


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