Complexity and dynamicity of EFL learners’ multi-dimensional engagement in digital storytelling tasks: an exploratory case study

Hongying Peng*, Sake Jager, Wander Lowie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Digital storytelling (DS) has increasingly been incorporated as a pedagogical tool to engage EFL learners for active language learning. However, little is known about how EFL learners make self-initiated use of multifarious resources available to them for engaging in the DS practice behaviourally, cognitively, affectively and socially. This 10-month-long study, informed by a dynamic and holistic approach, focused on an in-depth exploration of the dynamics and underpinning mechanisms of EFL learner engagement with the DS practice, as well as the alignment between their engagement and writing performance. Data were collected from multiple sources including learning journals, semi-structured interviews and DS products, and analysed using qualitative and quantitative techniques. Results revealed structural and temporal patterns regarding EFL learners’ behavioural, cognitive, social and affective DS engagement, which were found largely attributable to various individual and contextual factors. Also prominent in our observation were marked individual differences in terms of the patterns, processes and outcomes (in the form of writing development) of learners multifacetedly engaging in the DS practice. Pedagogical suggestions accommodating the dynamic, multifaceted and individual nature of learner engagement are provided for the design and implementation of DS-based tasks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage Learning Journal
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22-Aug-2023


  • Digital storytelling
  • holistic approach
  • learner engagement
  • writing development

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