Digital storytelling and reflection in medical education

Tonight I was taking another look at the #ds106dc Daily Create site which runs as part of the DS106 digital story telling course started of by Jim Groom at University Mary Washington. The daily create is one strand of ds106 and

provides a space for regular practice of spontaneous creativity through challenges published every day. Each assignment should take no more than 15-20 minutes. There are no registrations, no prizes, just a community of people producing art daily. Developed as part of the ds106 open course on digital storytelling, TDC is open to anyone who wants a regular dose of creative exercises (and it more fun than jumping jacks, pushups, and P90X).

How DS106 Changed My Life by giulia.forsythe, on FlickrA strong community has emerged around the #ds106 course and individuals have been sharing their creative works, which include photographs, drawings, audio recordings, video and writing via blogs, Flickr, YouTube etc. Looking at some of the daily create activities and artefacts got me thinking if something like this could work in medical education to support reflection.

A few weeks ago in the #ukmeded chat we discussed reflection, something which medical students and doctors alike see the benefit of but also sometimes despair about because of the tick box, jump through hoops approach that often seems to prevail in medical education.  Initial discussion around reflection kicked off at the end of a previous chat the whole chat is archived over on Symplur.

Digital storytelling has been been used to support reflection in medical education.  John Sandars has written about a pilot he ran with students at Leeds Medical School where a small group of 1st year students used digital storytelling to reflect on a personal and professional development module.  The students seemed to engage with this approach to reflection.  They liked the creative aspect of digital storytelling, they thought more about it things than when just writing an essay and the process of picking pictures had more of an impact on them. It was also viewed as a more stimulating form of reflection and appeared to encourage deeper and more meaningful reflection.

There are others using digital storytelling in medical education but I wonder if it’s something that could be more widely used to support reflection.  What would happen if the concept of the daily create was used with medical students perhaps as a weekly or monthly create activity, would it result in deeper and more engaging reflection or would it just become another chore that students complete through gritted teeth.  It would also be interesting to see what mght develop if there was an open medical education type digital story telling course like #ds106.  Maybe something worth exploring.

Sandars, J. & Murray, C. “Digital storytelling for reflection in undergraduate medical education: a pilot study.” Education for primary care 20 (2009): 441-44.

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  giulia.forsythe 


  1. Very interesting thought re an open medical education #ds106. I think the key is building community- that’s the gold. How do we promote than (mainly offline)?

    1. Not necessarily proposing an open medical education version of #ds106, thinking perhaps more about taking the approach and using within a medical school.

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