Digital storytelling and visual metaphor in lectures: a study of student engagement

Murray Taylor*, Mauricio Marrone, Mark Tayar, Beate Mueller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Digital storytelling is a multimodal instructional design framework that helps to explain complex concepts using narrative and metaphor. Drawing from conceptual metaphor theory, we explore the effect of digital storytelling on student engagement and understanding of unit material in two undergraduate units. Through a mixed methods approach, visual elements of storytelling and metaphors are found to increase student engagement. Greater increases in student engagement are found for accounting students than a comparison cohort of management students. The main contribution of this paper is in using conceptual metaphor theory to create a new understanding of student engagement regarding rich metaphors becoming cognitively aligned with accounting concepts. A storytelling approach further helps to improve student engagement by connecting multiple metaphors into a compelling overarching narrative. We present accounting education practitioners with specific recommendations for improving student engagement by introducing narrative and metaphoric elements into lectures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-569
Number of pages18
JournalAccounting Education
Issue number6
Early online date29 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018


  • accounting lectures
  • conceptual metaphor theory
  • Digital storytelling
  • student engagement
  • undergraduate accounting
  • visual metaphor


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