What is a storyboard?
Storyboard in instructional design is a visual representation of the training. It shows how the content will be structured (module per module, screen by screen), and how it will be visualized. In addition to describing the content and the corresponding visuals, it may include a description of the user interface, navigation, buttons, notes to eLearning developers, etc.
Why do you need a storyboard?
• The storyboard shows the basic idea of the design of the training and is very useful for the team involved in the development process and all the stakeholders, as everyone can get an idea of how the training will develop and adjustments can be made on time.
• The storyboard will also help you focus on the training, its goals and how you can accomplish them in the most efficient way.
• Making a storyboard takes time, but if you think about the design of the training in the beginning, it will save you a lot of time in the future, as you will not have to make changes after the training has been developed.
• If you create a storyboard, you will be able to identify the weaknesses of the training and correct them in the early stage of its development.
What to do before you start storyboarding?
Before you start working on your storyboard, you need to find the answers to the following questions:
• Who is the target audience?
• What are its training needs?
• What is the main goal of the training? What are the secondary training goals?
• What will be the story of the training? What are the most important scenes?
• What content/materials do you have? Can you use repurpose them? How?
• What is the sequence of the content? What are the topics that need to be addressed first?
• Have the learners ever participated in eLearning?
• Are they technically savvy?
• What pedagogical strategy has been used in the past?
• What tools will you use?
• How will you show the content - through a story, scenario, or another method?
• What is the deployment strategy?
How to create an effective storyboard?
The storyboard is usually created in PowerPoint or Word. The document needs to include the following information:
• Slide number
• Slide title
• Text: on-screen text, script (narrator’s text), instructions, slide transcript, video subtitles.
• Graphics: illustrations, images, charts, diagrams, infographics, icons, tables.
• Animations: entrance and exit animations, object animations, animations duration.
• Audio/Video: download links to ready for embed audio/video, instructions/description of audio/video content that needs to be developed.
• Navigation: main navigation (home, menu, help), slide navigation (previous, next, custom navigation buttons).
• Assessments: pre-tests, short tests after completion of a learning objective, final comprehensive test, decision-making exercises, etc.
• Examples: before or after the theoretical part.
• Additional resources: files for download, external links, glossaries, etc.
Keep in mind that you need to be very careful about how you choose and integrate all elements (text, graphics, etc.). Your goal is to create effective and complete training. However, it should not lead to cognitive overload.
What to do after you are ready with the storyboard?
Once you are ready with the first version of your storyboard, it is a good idea to review it and edit it. It takes more than one attempt to write a quality storyboard, so do not worry if you need to make several edits.
Once you, your team and the customer are happy with the storyboard, you can continue with the development stage.
Storyboarding is not an easy process, but if you learn to create effective storyboards, you will become а top instructional designer and your trainings will be engaging and powerful.