Imagine starting out on a road trip to a new destination, without a road map (or the GPS lady!) – you’ll probably end up regretting starting out at all! It’s the same thing with a storyboard – love it or hate it, you just can’t do without one. I mean, who really likes putting in tons of details like onscreen text, graphics description, animation description, interactions… into one document? Nobody, right? Yet, with all those elements left out, we would just be creating voice-over scripts and leave the rest to Fate!
To the uninitiated, a storyboard is probably a waste of time. To the hardened eLearning professional, it’s a life-saver. A storyboard addresses the W’s and the H’s of a learning plan. Borrowing from the principles of journalism, let’s see how it all fits in…
Hidden in the message is a subtle Why. Why are we creating the course? Yes, when you list out the learning objectives, you answer the Why.
The storyboard sets the tone for Who. Who is the course for? The language, the style, the complexity of the content – everything hinges on the target audience, and everything reflects in the storyboard.
What do you expect the learners to accomplish at the end of the course? It’s all in there… a storyboard reeks of learning outcomes in its entirety!
Are there any pre-requisites for the course? Does the course reiterate concepts taught in the classroom, or webinar? In short, when is the learner expected to take this course, in the entire scheme of things?
While Where has many possibilities, I shall consider the deployment method taking into account the myriad possibilities in today’s day and age. A storyboard relies heavily on the deployment method – unless you wish to receive a lot of flak, like Microsoft did for Windows 8 (when they focused mainly on touchscreens).
Finally, here’s where us Instructional Designers get to shine – how is the content to be taught? The storyboard is steeped in the oh-so-important instructional approach, which lays the foundation of the entire learning design.
It actually saves you time when you start your course design with the humble storyboard. You know where you are going, you know how to get there, and you know what’s what! No beating around the bush; no losing your way. Your clients – the stakeholders – know what to expect from the course when they see a storyboard, and feedback and suggestions can be incorporated before losing precious production time on a course. Makes life easier for the Instructional Designer, the client, and finally the developer. That’s a lot of cheer, spread!
Essentially, the storyboard serves as the blueprint for your course design – honed to perfection by various ‘intellectual’ iterations – and sacrosanct once finalized. Instructional Designers wave their magic wands and create their masterpiece – bringing into play years of experience and study of cognitive psychology.
So, if it ever crosses your mind to skip storyboarding for an eLearning project, do a quick rethink – and shun the thought!