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There is no one way to create the perfect eLearning storyboard. Communicate the information your audience needs for your specific learning experience.

You wanna know the best part about baking?

No, it’s not eating. And no, it’s not sharing either. (Although those things are pretty awesome.)

It’s the fact that all of the hard work and experimentation has been done for you.

You choose a recipe you like, buy the ingredients, follow the instructions to the letter, fire up the oven, set a timer, and voilà. You’ve got homemade deliciousness to hoard or share as you see fit.

Unfortunately, storyboarding for eLearning is a lot less point-and-shoot.

What is the perfect recipe for storyboarding that comes out scrumdiddlyumptious every time?

Time to fess up: there isn’t one.

‘But I thought this was the comprehensive guide to storyboarding?!’

It is! But I can’t give you a definitive recipe that will fit every learning experience you could possibly create.

There isn’t one way to create the perfect storyboard.

And frankly, the perfect storyboard probably doesn’t even exist.

The key is: stay focused on the following principles.

#1 The Storyboard must convey information appropriately for your audience.

Ask yourself: who is this storyboard designed for? Is it someone who doesn’t really understand things visually? (i.e. SMEs, stakeholders, and clients). Make sure you storyboard with them in mind. What questions would they ask? What would help them to clearly understand how the course will look and function? Focus on conveying information in the way that best fits your audience.

#2 The storyboard is the plan.

Developers need details in order to accurately transfer your storyboard into the authoring tool. Think about the questions they might ask and fill in the blanks for them. Too much detail is probably less of a problem than too little. Your storyboard may include details like:

  • Project name
  • Slide name
  • Location (e.g. Slide x of x)
  • Type (drag and drop, tab interaction, quiz, etc)
  • Objective (how the slide fits into the goal of the section, course etc)
  • Content (description of the slide visual)
  • Programming (information about how the slide will be authored)
  • Variables (variables used or affected on the slide)
  • Narration (the narration that will be included in the slide)
  • Interactivity (description of how the user will interact with the slide)
  • Accessibility (information to make the slide accessible)
  • Media/Assets (Media or asset files that need to be included in the slide)
  • Feedback (Feedback that will be provided to the learner based on their response or interaction)
  • Instructional Information (the sort of instruction that will be presented on the slide)
  • Navigation (what the next or previous slide will be)
  • Slide Visual (a rough mock-up of how the slide itself will look)

Now, this is a lot of information. And it should be obvious that it would be nearly impossible to fill in all of this information for every slide of every learning experience.

But remember, this is the Comprehensive Guide to Storyboarding for e-learning. So I’m giving you a comprehensive list.

Depending on the type of learning experience you are creating, such a list may be moot (remember, you might not need a storyboard for every learning experience.) But this list gives you an idea of the type of information that you can and should be trying to communicate.

#3 There is no one correct way to storyboard a project.

Keep in mind the goal is clear, simple communication. Whatever it takes, do that.
Is a Google doc sufficient? Use it. Are some paper napkin sketches enough? Great. Do you feel like your audience needs a full-blown storyboard template in design software like Adobe Illustrator or XD or Affinity Designer? Awesome! Do that.

(I’ve got you covered on this one. Click here and get your free, ready-to-use sample eLearning Storyboard.)

The recipe for success hinges on the degree to which you have effectively and accurately communicated to your team or the client. Any questions or confusion that result from your storyboard will be the gauge of your success.

Key principle: use the best tool to create a clearly conveyed, sufficiently detailed, audience-appropriate plan for your learning experience.

Staying focused on that puts you on the road to sensational storyboarding.

Next: Are you on the road to sensational storyboarding?

Further Reading:

The Comprehensive Guide to Storyboarding for E-learning—Part 05: When Do I Start My 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.