Storyboarding and eLearning have gone hand-in-hand for a long time. But with the evolution of eLearning authoring tools, more designers are turning their back on the process. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard ‘I don’t storyboard for Rise 360’, for example. Therefore, in this blog we’re going to investigate whether eLearning storyboarding is worth the effort.
So, first things first…
What is storyboarding in eLearning?
“A storyboard is a map that guides eLearning professionals through course design.”
In other words, storyboarding is the planning stage of eLearning design. It details all the components needed throughout your course, on a slide-by-slide basis. This includes, but is not limited to; slide name, goal, text, elements and audio.
So, why would you storyboard your eLearning course?
Storyboards allow you to get your ideas down on paper (or the screen) before jumping head first into development. It allows you to think through the bigger picture of your eLearning course. Whilst also ensuring the concept of your learning works, and each slide interacts with the next in the desired way.
Ensuring you work through your course in this way prevents rework. Or worst still, realising the concept doesn’t work half way through build.
If you’re going to storyboard, how should you do it?
There is no science to the perfect storyboard. Quite simply, whatever works for you is best. However, eLearning is a visual medium. So why wouldn’t you create your storyboard as a visual representation of your course?
Whichever way you choose to storyboard your course, stick to a template. You can download one, or create your own. But once you have your template refined – stick with it! Using the same storyboard template for every course allows you to focus. Enabling you to concentrate on what you need to plan out, identify or document. Plus, consistent storyboarding makes peer and SME reviews much easier!
So, why wouldn’t you storyboard?
There are very few situations I’d endorse skipping the storyboard stage. But, if you’re using Rise 360 to develop your course – it may be worth diving straight in. Articulate themselves said that Rise is so easy to use, that traditional storyboarding isn’t always needed. You can’t argue with the expert themselves!
However, there’s a caveat to this statement. It’s only worth skipping the traditional Word or PowerPoint storyboard if you have the content laid out already. If your SME (subject matter expert) has given you the content in an organised format – for example, a Word document – then dive right in. But, if you have content scattered around in different formats, it’s best to pull the content together before you start developing. Even when your authoring tool is as intuitive as Rise 360.
So, should I storyboard or not?
You may have guessed by now that I’m a strong believer in the importance of storyboarding. Having your content laid out and thought-through before diving head first into build, will undoubtedly make the development process smoother.
Storyboarding ensures consistency and clarity before development. However, if you feel the process takes too long, here are some ideas:
- If you’re using Rise 360, prototype rather than storyboard. The good thing about Rise 360 is that you can jump in and out of lessons; and drag-and-drop additional blocks in between previous ones.
- You can also storyboard straight into your authoring tool. You can see a great example of storyboarding into Storyline 2 on the eLearning Heroes forum here.
And last but not least…
- Accept that storyboarding actually saves time in the long run. As previously mentioned, it saves rework, and it can also stop you from making costly mistakes further down the line.
I hope this blog has given you some food for thought about the importance of Storyboarding. If you need any help with your next eLearning project, get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.