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Start your eLearning storyboard at the time that will be the most effective for the learning experience.

Storyboarding too early is like trying to put up the frame of your house before the foundation. You can definitely do it. But you will almost certainly waste time and energy.

When deciding when you should begin storyboarding, ask yourself: Are the foundations of my learning experience well laid?

How can you determine the answer to that question?

Here are a few key questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I clearly understand the objectives and goals of this learning experience?
  • Do I understand the learners, their skill level, their motivation, how they need to apply the material, and the environment in which they do so?
  • Have I thoroughly reviewed previous learning materials on which this course is based?
  • Do I have content, examples, and material for the eLearning?
  • Have I determined an instructional strategy by which the learner will interact with the experience?
  • Do I know the order in which the learner will proceed through the learning experience?
  • Do I have a style manual on which the visuals and language of the course will be based?
  • Do I understand how learners’ knowledge, understanding, or abilities will be assessed throughout the course?
  • Have I gotten the answers to the above questions approved by the SME, client, or stakeholder?

Surely you could think of even more questions. And based on the type of learning experience you are designing you may or may not require the approval of more foundational pieces.

Here’s the key: don’t storyboard too early.

Yes, I totally hear what you’re saying.

The learning experience is constantly changing. Approvals come and are later withdrawn. A small course today creeps into a 20-part microlearning series tomorrow. And, you’re right, it is nearly impossible to create a storyboard without changing something in the course as a result.

So, will there be some duplication of work? Yes.

Will there be some wasted time and energy? Absolutely.

But that is part and partial to the process. A storyboard may expose a part of the learning experience that needs to be reconceptualized, rewritten, or removed. But that’s ok!

In fact, it means that the process is working properly!

The key is knowing when to start.

Start at the time that will be the most effective for the learning experience and least destructive to your time, energy, and morale.

When exactly is that?

Honestly, it can be somewhat of a moving target.

But a generally good starting point is after you have received approval from the stakeholder, SME, or client on most or all of the foundational pieces listed above.

Next: How do I create an eLearning storyboard?

Further Reading:

The Comprehensive Guide to Storyboarding for E-learning—Part 05: Where Do I Storyboard?

The Comprehensive Guide to Storyboarding for Learning Experience Design: Elevate Yourself from Mediocrity to Master. IDOL Courses Academy. April 12, 2022.

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Brian Harris

Brian Harris is the Chief of Design and Development with Brilliant Educational Services. He specializes in producing learning experiences and educational materials that are engaging, entertaining, and effective.