A review of digital storytelling in language learning in children: methods, design and reliability

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Clare Ong
Vahid Aryadoust


Digital storytelling (DS) is an innovative approach to language learning and teaching. Generally, DS refers to the form of storytelling that utilizes digital technology for expression. Scholars have established the value of DS in both traditional and non-traditional (online) classrooms as a tool to teach and learn languages. However, the research methods and standards of such studies continue to be overlooked even though the robustness of these studies needs to be established for the implementation of DS into the language curriculum for children. Thus, the present research conducted a systematic investigation of research methods, design and reliability in DS studies on children’s language learning. We identified and extracted 50 documents from the Scopus database that satisfied the criteria of inclusion. In the initial evaluation, we coded every paper for (a) the research method applied, (b) research design and (c) reliability investigation of the instruments. We observed that most studies in the dataset used qualitative methods (n = 24, 48%) and most examined the effect of DS on children’s written abilities (n = 25, 50%). The abilities of children to speak (n = 15, 30%) and read a specific language (n = 10, 20%) were investigated to a lesser extent. Yet, none of these studies investigated listening skills. Notably, more than 92% of DS studies on children language learning provided no evidence of reliability investigation. While we coded for eight reliability statistics in the DS dataset, only two of the indexes were identified. Among these methods, Cronbach’s α was most often used to examine internal reliability, whereas correlation coefficient was applied to establish external reliability. Based on these findings, we offer some suggestions and guidelines for future DS research.


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Ong, C., & Aryadoust, V. (2023). A review of digital storytelling in language learning in children: methods, design and reliability. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 18, 011. https://doi.org/10.58459/rptel.2023.18011