In this paper we consider the role of story in digital technology enhanced learning and the issues involved in constructing digital narrative learning environments. We will see that story has played an important role in education for a very long time, well pre-dating the use of digital technologies, and can be closely related to a number of theoretical approaches to learning. However story has recently become a much more significant topic for research, not only in education and digital technology, but also in other fields, such as knowledge management, and we examine why it has become such a central concern. The paper then looks at the existing use of story in fielded educational applications, and questions how far it has actually been used as an essential mechanism producing a narrative learning environment – rather than merely as motivational support. The relationship between story and computer games is an important issue here. We argue that the interactivity of digital media raises fundamental problems for the use of story which are still challenging researchers, and look at the various approaches to dealing with these problems, citing a number of example systems.  Finally, we discuss the direction in which the technology is moving what it offers now and what it may offer in the near future, and what technology support is currently available for creating digital narrative learning environments.


Digital Technology Mixed Reality Virtual Reality Technology Educational Application Motivational Support 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Aylett
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Maths and Computer ScienceHeriot-Watt UniversityEdinburghUK

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