Gaming Versus Storytelling: Understanding Children’s Interactive Experiences in a Museum Setting

  • Marko RadetaEmail author
  • Vanessa Cesario
  • Sónia Matos
  • Valentina Nisi
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10690)


While gaming and storytelling are considered to be common approaches to engage audiences with a museum’s collections, a formal comparison of the two has not been found in literature. While gaming and storytelling are considered to be common approaches to engage audiences with a museum’s collections, a formal comparison of the two has not been found in literature. In this paper, we present the design and comparative study of two distinct interventions, namely a mobile game and a mobile story that were designed to engage a young audience with the exhibit of the local natural history museum. Focusing on the same scientific content derived from the museum’s collection, we compare the effects of both interactive experiences on a group of children. When comparing engagement, enjoyment and learning outcomes, we correlate results with data derived from observations and skin conductance biofeedback. The data collected so far suggest that children are 27% more excited when using the game application compared with the story driven one. Moreover, we find that children’s excitement peaks when encountering selected artefacts presented in the museum exhibit. Finally, children’s learning nearly doubled (44%) when using the game based experience versus the story. We conclude the paper by discussing the implications of our findings and by proposing potential future improvements.


Interactive experiences Gaming Storytelling Skin conductance Proximity sensing 



We wish to express our gratitude to the director and staff from the Museum of Natural History of Funchal (MNHF). We are very thankful to Dina Dionisio from M-ITI for helping us during the user-testing sessions with the children. Also, a special thank you goes to actress Sophie Gouveia from Teatro Metaphora in Câmara de Lobos. We would also like to acknowledge the work of animation students Tyler Carrigan, Pamela Gray and Amy Bruning from Edinburgh College of Art. The sound recording of a pilot whale that was used in the Ocean Stories application was provided by the Whale Museum of Madeira while sounds of a monk seal were provided by the Madeiran Institute for Nature Conservation (IP-RAM). The work reported in this contribution was developed with the support of ARDITI (Project Number M14-20-09-5369-FSE-000001), the University of Edinburgh (CAHSS Knowledge Exchange and Impact grant) and the MITIExcell - EXCELENCIA INTERNACIONAL DE IDT&I NAS TIC funding (Project Number M1420-01-01450FEDER0000002), provided by the Regional Government of Madeira.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marko Radeta
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vanessa Cesario
    • 1
  • Sónia Matos
    • 1
  • Valentina Nisi
    • 1
  1. 1.Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute (M-ITI)FunchalPortugal

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