TRANSMEDIA: Elements of the Experience

experienceIt's possible to build a wide range of transmedia experiences by mixing different components.

As you consider how the transmedia approach might be used in teaching and learning, think about how the different elements can be used to differentiate and meet individual learning needs.

Click the image on the right to see a larger version. Notice the many elements that were included in our "workshop experience".

Use the Transmedia Fluid Environments (PDF) checklist for a quick review of the key elements.


From case studies and scenarios to ancedotes and simulations, teachers often incorporate storytelling, investigation, and exploration aspects into the classroom.

  • Go back to a time when...
  • Pretend that you're a junior ranger, scientist, historian...
  • What if your were...

Story/Journey-based. Participants explore a narrative that provides the main line of a story or journey.

  • Linear narrative
  • Interactive storybooks
  • Interactive fiction and hypertext (choose your own adventure)
  • Transmedia

Inquiry-based. Participants identify questions, explore resources and ideas, assimilate information, draw inferences from evidence, make decisions, and reflect on their experience.

Place-based Learning. Participants focus on a specific location. It may be local, remote, invented, or real.

Object and Artifact-based. Participants examine a particular object or artifact.

Problem-based. Participants focus on solving a problem.

Project-based. Participants follow a process to create a project.

Challenge-based. Participants participate in a challenge.

Simulation-based. Participants explore a simulated environment.

Game-based. Participants overcome obstacles to solve a problem, accomplish a goal, or complete a task.

Multi-user Virtual Worlds. Participants explore a virtual location.

Alternate Reality. Participants are involved in a storyline or game that uses real-world settings and environments. Flash mobs are in this category.

Augmented Reality. Participants experience a direct or indirect view of the world as seen through technology. Information about an environment may be overlayed on the real world.

Resource Elements

Consider the many ways that people communicate and share ideas. Consider how you can share the same message many ways through artifacts, text, graphics, sounds, and motion. What method is most efficient, effective, and appealing for a particular story?

Explore Google Art Project.

  • Artwork (paintings, sculpture)
  • Documents (tickets, fliers)
  • Models (globe)
  • Objects (coins, tools, utensils)

Text (narrative, description, exposition, argumentation)



  • Spoken language (narration, speech, instructions, directions)
    • Librivox. Source for public domain audio content
  • Sound effects (integral, incidental)
  • Music (integral, incidental, instrumental, vocal)
  • Music Makers
  • Tools


Interactives (combine all the media)

  • Fake and real websites

Participatory Elements

Social Networks

  • Read
  • Favorite or Vote
  • Tag or Categorize
  • Comment or Reply
  • Create and Share
  • Collaborate
  • Moderate or Lead

Existing Social Network Services

Content Management Tools

Discussions and Back Channels

Polls and Surveys

Whiteboard and Noteboard

  • Magnifer (helps enlarge small images) (download for Windows or Mac)
  • Skrbl (no sign-up, share URL)
  • Scriblink (no sign-up, math symbols, share URL)
  • Twiddla (no sign-up, math symbols, annotate web page, upload images, share URL, collaborate)
  • Stixy (sign-up, shared stickies and documents)
  • Wallwisher





Wiki and Websites

Content Curation Tools

Read Pecos Bill Rides a Tornado then use the Kerpoof movie maker to create a tall tale. Share it on a content curation site.

Game Elements

Cheat (help) sheets

Clues and Hint

Ciphers, Codes, Translators, Puzzles


Physical Activities

Science Lab

Performance (music, dance, speech)


Movement (walk, run, hike, bike)

User Generated Creative Projects

Navigation Tools

Webpages with Hotspots and URL links


QR barcode

GPS coordinates

  • Google Maps and Google Earth
  • Geocaching

Samantha Penney developed a pyramid to represent the many Web 2.0 type tools that can be incorporated into teaching and learning.

Wave ActivityBuild an experience using at least three different tools. For instance, tell a story with Voki, then ask students to retell the story with MakeBelliefsComix. Or, introduce a new concept like Simple Machines with Glogster, let students explore, then ask students to photograph and tell a story about a simple machine.

Go to the next section: Contents.

| Overview | The Wave | Defined | An Experience | Elements | Content| Design | Skills | Fluid |