Friday, 6 May 2016

Using Storify as an Engaging Learning Tool, by Dr Jamie Bailey

Student Engagement
Social media that helps students engage with their learning, through co-creation, co-learning and co-designing with other stakeholders (Healey et al., 2014), is often used as a tool to facilitate knowledge development.

However existing methods that use social media as an inclusive learning tool, although proven to be effective in some instances for instance helping to facilitate and support student-centred learning activities (Halverson, 2011), may also cause distractions and also preclude some learners (e.g. international students).

One approach that I have used to address some of these issues is Storify ( Storify is a free online tool through which online resources are used to create ‘stories’ in order to showcase specific topics, products, news events and so on. One of the benefits of this for facilitators is that when it is set up, it can be easily added to and changed, making it a resource that can offer ongoing support and that develops over time.

Stories comprise of a variety of resources - web links, images (Flickr, Getty and Instagram), videos (YouTube), Tweets, Facebook links, music (Soundcloud) (Fig. 1). Generally if it is on the internet it can be used.

Fig 1. Online resources that can be incorporated into ‘stories’

Storify as a learning tool
From a student perspective the benefit of these stories for students is that they can view a topic and related content all in one place. This focused resource then can help support knowledge development (by linking case studies, news articles, and other articles), revision and crucially co-creative engagement. Furthermore, access to the stories requires no login and can be embedded, making it an ideal tool for inclusive learning activities.

I have introduced this in Digital and Marketing Communications, a level 5 marketing module. Students use Storify to help relate theoretical content to real-life examples. Marketing as a topic is perfect for this, due to the constant examples and ever changing context, but it is easily adaptable to any subject that encourages critical thinking and expansion beyond the prescribed curriculum.

Fig 2. A digital marketing story embedded in the Keele Learning Environment

So has it been successful? While it is not without small issues (e.g. encouraging students to provide resources for inclusion), there are about 500 views for each topic at the time of writing, and this will more than likely increase now that exam period is approaching. Students have also reacted positively to this resource, noting the extra support, engagement, and contemporary knowledge of the marketing environment that it offers.

Dr. Jamie Bailey
Keele Management School

If you would like any more information on Storify as a learning tool, or wish for a more in depth demonstration of how it could be incorporated into modules, please feel free to contact me at

Halverson, E (2011), "Do social networking technologies have a place in formal learning environments?," On The Horizon-The Strategic Planning Resource for Education Professionals, 19 (1), 62-67.

Healey, M., A. Flint, and K Harrington (2014), "Engagement Through Partnership: Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education." York: Higher Education Academy.

Neier, S, and L Zayer (2015), "Students’ Perceptions and Experiences of Social Media in Higher Education," Journal of Marketing Education, ISSUE, 1-11.

Taylor, S, G Hunter, H Melton, and S Goodwin (2011), "Student Engagement and Marketing Classes," Journal of Marketing Education, 33 (1), 73-92.

Creative Commons License
Using Storify as an Engaging Learning Tool by Dr Jamie Bailey, Keele University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.