Sunday, March 11, 2012

Effective Storyboarding

By Dean Hawkinson

Storyboarding for an eLearning course can be a very effective way to lay out the overall look and feel of your course, as evidenced by this post by Donna Bryant. Storyboarding can serve a couple of different purposes:

  • It can be an easy way for your subject matter experts (SMEs) to review content during the development stage
  • It can serve as instruction for a developer when the actual development of the course is not done by the designer of the course
I recently attended a webinar presented by Trivantis, the company that owns the eLearning development software Lectora, on effective storyboarding. In this article, I intend to share some of the highlights of that webinar.

Tools for storyboarding

A lot of people use Microsoft PowerPoint for storyboarding for several reasons:

  • PowerPoint tends to be standard software on most corporate computers, so your SMEs should have access to create notes and update information directly on the document
  • You can easily use a corporate template and show a visual layout of your content using PowerPoint
  • PowerPoint provides a notes section to place any notes for your developer or SMEs so you can include instructions on elements such as multimedia and navigation
However, if you want to build your storyboard or your course directly in Lectora, you can use the Notes function to place notes on each page. These notes will only be viewable by you or another developer. You can even access a master list of your notes within the document. These notes will not be shown to the end user.

If you have the Lectora Professional addition, you can also use a web service provided by Trivantis known as ReviewLink. With this service, you can place your published material on the server for your SMEs to review with full functionality and provide feedback.

Elements in your storyboard

Your storyboard should include the following elements:

  • List of consistent design elements - this will include any multimedia elements such as video, images and interactive exercises
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) and navigation - your GUI is the look and feel of your course, whether using one of the built-in Lectora templates or a template designed by your company or client. This would include all the navigation buttons and other consistent elements throughout your course
  • Course outline and map - using sound instructional design principles, make sure you include an overview or course map for your course, so your SMEs or developer can get a "big picture" of the entire course
  • Knowledge checks and assessments - include all of your knowledge check questions and assessments with answers
  • 508 Compliance requirements - include any special requirements for handicap access, i.e. audio or other assistance

Notes about multimedia elements

A few things to keep in mind when selecting multimedia elements in your storyboard/course:

  • The selected media should always support the learning objectives of the course – if it doesn’t support what you are trying to teach, don’t use it
  • The media should have a clear purpose – don’t just use the latest cool media just for the sake of using it; there needs to be a purpose in choosing a particular type of media
  • Keep any technology limitations in mind – remember your audience and make sure that the computers they are using will support the media (do they have audio or can they support video?)
  • If you are using videos for an eLearning course, a good rule of thumb is to keep them short – 3-5 minutes each

Any other thoughts/experiences with storyboarding that you would like to share?


  1. These are great ideas on storyboarding. I am going to share this on a Linkedin Site comprised of Lectora developers.


  2. Hi, Bruce -

    Thank you, feel free! I Appreciate the comment!



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