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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 273-276

Student's perception of storytorial - An innovative approach to self-learning

1 Department of Physiology, JSS Medical College, JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Mysore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, JSS Medical College, JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Mysore, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission14-Jan-2022
Date of Decision07-Mar-2022
Date of Acceptance07-Mar-2022
Date of Web Publication17-Mar-2023

Correspondence Address:
S A Priya
Department of Physiology, JSS Medical College, JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Mysore, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cjhr.cjhr_7_22

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Background: In the traditional undergraduate curriculum, majority of the hours is dedicated to passive lectures where students are mere listener. Emphasis on self-learning is restricted to reading some of the topics from the book and Internet. With reference to this, storytorial was introduced as an innovative learning method mainly concentrating on self-learning, communication skills, and retrieval of concept. A story was illustrated and enacted to a topic in physiology during tutorial hour, hence the name storytorial. Methods: This method of learning was introduced to the I MBBS 2018–2019 batch, comprising 200 students. They were divided into small groups; topics and list of students to perform storytorial were displayed in the notice board 15 days before the session. On the day of session, the selected 10 students performed a story that illustrated the physiology topic assigned to them. Time allotted for the presentation was 20–30 min. The students enacted the story, and one of them narrated how the story is linked to the topic. Later, a case study related to the topic was given, and the students solved the case in the presence of an in-charge teacher for that batch. The session lasted for 1 h. Likewise, all the students were involved in the performance with a different topic in separate sessions according to the time table. At the end of all the sessions, subjective feedback of storytorial from the students was taken using 5-point Likert scale and computed. Results: The analysis of feedback on 5-point Likert scale with point 5 as strongly agree and 1 as strongly disagree was as follows: increased confidence and learning – 4.468, better understanding of concept – 4.058, better memory retention and retrieval – 4.28, and enjoyed and liked the sessions – 4.37. 90% of the students recommended storytorial for the next batch. Conclusion: This innovative method is an extended role-play where the concepts are illustrated in the form of story which helps the students to understand and remember the medical concepts by self-learning approach.

Keywords: Feedback, Likert scale, self-learning, storytorial, students

How to cite this article:
Priya S A, Sunitha M S, Rajalakshmi R, Ramya C M, Chandrashekarappa SM. Student's perception of storytorial - An innovative approach to self-learning. CHRISMED J Health Res 2022;9:273-6

How to cite this URL:
Priya S A, Sunitha M S, Rajalakshmi R, Ramya C M, Chandrashekarappa SM. Student's perception of storytorial - An innovative approach to self-learning. CHRISMED J Health Res [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Apr 1];9:273-6. Available from: https://www.cjhr.org/text.asp?2022/9/4/273/371943

  Introduction Top

The idea of active learning or so-called student-centered learning was evolved in the late 1970s and the early 1980s. Passive learning in higher education, on the other hand, led to mere listening from the students' side and was largely dependent on the interest of the students. Since then, medical educators throughout the world started emphasizing active learning methods of teaching and learning. In the traditional undergraduate curriculum, the majority of the hours is dedicated to passive lectures where students are mere listeners. Emphasis on self-learning is restricted to students (by learning the topics from the book and internet). The graduate medical education regulations recommend/emphasize self-directed learning and small group teaching. Role-plays, case-based learning, and quizzes are some methods where students' participation is active.[1],[2] In this direction, the department of physiology introduced storytorial which is the first of its kind in the field of physiology. This self-learning method was introduced to the 2018–2019 MBBS batch with the sole intention of active and self-learning. It includes depicting the concept in physiology as a story performance by the students in a small group and linking the story to the concept. It emphasized thinking, interacting, organizing, rehearsing, and executing thoughts in a small group. Here, the story was illustrated and enacted on a topic in physiology during the tutorial hour; hence, we christened the session as storytorial.

  Methods Top

This was a descriptive, cross-sectional study involving 200 students of I MBBS. Ethical clearance was obtained from the institution's ethics committee dated November 23, 2019, with reference number JSSMC/IEC/2311/01 NCT/2019–20.

During the storytorial, the students were instructed about the storytorial do's and don'ts. All the students should actively contribute to the session. They were allowed to use props (things such as a book, pen, bag, hat, and umbrella). They were not allowed to use PowerPoint or display projectors. The use of gadgets such as Bluetooth devices, mobile phones, or any digital devices was prohibited. These do's and don'ts were imposed so that they do not glorify the performance using expensive gadgets, instead use their logical thinking and reasoning to bring out a good performance.

After giving introduction and instruction to storytorial, the topics and students to perform storytorial were displayed on the notice board 15 days in advance. The topics were chosen by the teachers after discussing them with all the teaching faculty of the department. Ten students were randomly allotted the topic. All the 200 students were divided into three batches of 67–68 students to ensure a small group. In one session of storytorial, 10 students from each batch performed storytorial, and the other 48–50 students of the batch were the audience and involved in case-based discussion along with 10 students who performed, which followed storytorial. The topic was the same for all the three batches who performed on that day. One facilitator was assigned to each batch to coordinate the sessions and the facilitators were briefed and given a checklist for the storytorial to ensure uniformity to all batches. Hence, likewise, a total of 7 with a total of 21 sessions were covered for the entire batch for the academic year.

After the topic was assigned to the students, the students gathered together after class hours and discussed the topic initially and came out with an idea of a story behind the concept. Later, they assigned roles and dialogs to one another and rehearsed before it was performed on the day of the session. During the session, all the students involved in the storytorial performed in front of the batch with one of them being the narrator who described how their act was related to the concept. Each storytorial was given 30 min during which they completed the performance and narration. After 30 min, a case history related to the topic was given to all 68 students to solve, following which it was discussed by the facilitator in-charge of that batch. Some of the case studies were picked up from Guyton and Hall Physiology Review, and some case studies were validated by a senior-grade physiologist and a physician from the institution, before giving to the students. At the end of the session, marks were allotted (according to the checklist) to the students who performed, and the marks were included for internal assessment. The checklist for storytorial involved content, innovation, coordination, and presentation. Likewise, when all the 200 students finished their storytorial, feedback was taken in a Likert scale from all the students as a routine procedure when any new teaching–learning methods were introduced. Since the study was a quantitative questionnaire based, we preferred a 5-point Likert scale system. The Likert scale has the advantage that it does not ask for only two options, yes or no, from the respondents but a wide degree of opinion and with no opinion option too. The Likert scale questionnaire was designed, and the later phase was validated by two physiology professors and one member from the medical education of the institution. Paulhus found that more desirable answers were reported when people were asked for identity on the questionnaire than when they were not asked for identity in the questionnaire.[3] Hence, even we followed the same, we took anonymous feedback in a pen-and-paper format and asked the students to submit the feedback form in a box that was provided. The feedback also contained comments and suggestions apart from the Likert scale at the end of the form. The feedback data were entered in a Microsoft Excel Sheet, and then, analysis of the feedback using descriptive statistics such as the proportion of students responding to questions was computed using SPSS windows 24 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA) (licensed to the institution). As the study is not analytical, we did not use the normality or did not check for the power of the study.

  Results Top

The total respondents for the feedback were 188 students, and the remaining 12 students were absent for the feedback session.

As shown in [Table 1], feedback taken from the students suggested a positive result about storytorial, with a majority of the students agreeing that storytorial was successful in making them understand and remember the concept well, removing their stage fear.
Table 1: Feedback of students on storytorial

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[Graph 1] shows the proportion of students recommending storytorial to the next batch of MBBS students.

When asked about the continuation of storytorial to subsequent batches, 171 (90.9%) of students wished to recommend storytorial to continue, whereas 16 (8.5%) of students said no, and 1 (0.5%) of the students remained neutral for this question.

  Discussion Top

There are various ways in which students can be engaged in self-learning, such as question making, problem-based learning, memory retrieval practice by reinforcement practice, and role-play.[4],[5],[6],[7],[8] Cherney and Zepke and Leach have shown that active involvement of students in class improves learning and retention.[9],[10] Similarly, in our study, the majority of the students believed that storytorial was helpful in memory retention as it was based on active learning. It is also with the fact that students try to remember the best if they construct the knowledge themselves.[11]

Motivation and self-confidence are major problems faced by students with learning difficulties. Students' engagement and social interaction are assumed to be the factors to enhance motivation and self-confidence besides teachers' sense of efficacy.[12] Engagement and social interaction, therefore, become important adversity to be solved. The storytorial technique employed in our physiology department proved to be efficient in improving self-confidence among them as it helped them communicate with their fellow mates and took away their stage fear. Nevertheless, the participation of willing students to perform the act is a challenging one. This resistance reflects the passive role played by the students in classrooms and active learning requires some effort from the student side. Hence, we made it compulsory for all the students and included the allotted marks in the internal assessment. To conclude, storytorial proved successful in engaging students in the self-learning process and a sense of satisfaction among themselves. It involved the process of thinking, linking, organizing, rehearsing, and executing the thought. It is highly motivating and improvises communication skills with small team discussions. The conduct of the storytorial proved successful, and a majority of the students recommended sessions to continue for the subsequent MBBS batches. If this method is followed successfully, then teacher-centered pedagogy can pave way for student-centered learning.

  Conclusion Top

This innovative learning method is an extended role play which helps the students to understand and remember the concepts related chapters in Physiology and retrieve the knowledge when requiired.


One-hundred percent participation by all the students is difficult to access, as the collaboration of students in bringing the idea and contribution by each student is not monitored. As this was a pilot study to incorporate a new method for self-learning, only feedback from the students was taken. Further assessing the efficacy of the study can be made objectively by comparing the marks obtained in the theory examination to whom the Storytorial was conducted as against the marks obtained to whom storytorial was not conducted for future batches to come.


We extend our gratitude to all the teaching Faculty of Department of Physiology for their support and engaging the storytorial classes. We are thankful to the students for their active participation in the program and giving their valuable feedback.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Chinnici J, Yue J, Torres K. Students as human chromosomes in role-playing mitosis and meiosis. Am Biol Teach 2004;66:35-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
Shazia A, Shaheena N, Asaad Z. QUIZ – An innovative practice in medical education. PJMHS 2015;9:1413-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
Paulhus DL. Two-component models of socially desirable responding. J Pers Soc Psychol 1984;46:598.  Back to cited text no. 3
Roediger HL 3rd, Butler AC. The critical role of retrieval practice in long-term retention. Trends Cogn Sci 2011;15:20-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
Sturges D, Maurer TW, Cole O. Understanding protein synthesis: A role-play approach in large undergraduate human anatomy and physiology classes. Adv Physiol Educ 2009;33:103-10.  Back to cited text no. 5
Kerry L. Using role-playing simulations to teach respiratory physiology. J Hum Anat Physiol Soc 2016;20:5-14.  Back to cited text no. 6
Ross PM, Tronson DA, Ritchie RJ. Increasing conceptual understanding of glycolysis & the Krebs cycle using role-play. Am Biol Teach 2008;70:163-8.  Back to cited text no. 7
Cherney ID. The effects of active learning on students' memories for course content. Act Learn High Educ 2008;9:152-71.  Back to cited text no. 8
Zepke N, Leach L. Improving student engagement: Ten proposals for action. Active learning in higher education 2010;11:167-77.  Back to cited text no. 9
Eberlein T, Kampmeier J, Minderhout V, Moog RS, Platt T, Varma-Nelson P, et al. Pedagogies of engagement in science: A comparison of PBL, POGIL, and PLTL*. Biochem Mol Biol Educ 2008;36:262-73.  Back to cited text no. 10
Konstantinidis A, Theodosiadou D, Papachatzi A, Pappos C. The impact of PowerPoint uses on teacher sense of efficacy. Int J Educ Pract 2017;5:69-78.  Back to cited text no. 11
Qualters DM. Do students want to be active? J Scholarsh Teach Learn 2001;2:51-60.  Back to cited text no. 12


  [Table 1]


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