Within the intelligent tutoring systems community, narrative is emerging as an effective medium for contextualizing learning. To date, relatively few empirical studies have been conducted to assess learning in narrative-centered learning environments. In this paper, we investigate the effect of narrative on learning experiences and outcomes. We present results from an experiment conducted with eighth-grade middle school students interacting with a narrative-centered learning environment in the domain of microbiology. The study found that students do exhibit learning gains, that those gains are less than those produced by traditional instructional approaches, but that the motivational benefits of narrative-centered learning with regard to self-efficacy, presence, interest, and perception of control are substantial.
The History of the Storyline Method