Six Tips for a Highly Successful eLearning Storyboard [Free Checklist Included!]
Posted: July 15, 2016
Good for you! You’re well prepared to begin your storyboard. You have a sound instructional design, driven by business goals, audience analysis and learning objectives. You have approved content. You have style guidelines and a standardized eLearning template, and you understand the project’s technical requirements. Now what?
How do you turn blank pages into a storyboard that communicates to the client and the developer all the components of an exciting eLearning experience?
Here are six important tips:
- Use visuals to energize learning and focus attention, not simply to fill white space. Enliven text with graphics to illustrate a concept or photos to depict a scenario. (Make sure photos reflect the work environment, dress code and demographics of your audience.) For complex subjects, use an advance organizer so the learner can glimpse what’s to come and observe progress. For example, in discussing the change management process, you might choose an arrow made of seven parts, each representing a specific stage. As the learner moves through the content, each stage is highlighted.
- Keep in mind that “less is more.” Don’t overcrowd your slides with text or an array of images just because you can. Value white space.
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- Involve the learner. Require the learner’s participation in revealing portions of the content, not just turning pages or answering questions. For example, rather than listing six ways a cybercriminal may commit credit card fraud, present six clickable objects. Then allow the learners to click these in any order to explore the information at their own pace. Consider offering optional examples or hyperlinks to more information for those who need extra help or want to dive deeper.
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- Use a conversational tone in scripting, as if you’re speaking to the learner one on one. If the program is driven by narration, make sure the onscreen text supports key points and mirrors the sequence of the audio. Otherwise, the conflict between what the ear hears and what the eye sees might distract the learner. Minimize onscreen text when you can, but keep in mind some learners may choose not to listen to the audio.
- Honor the reading level of your audience. Keep sentences short and simple. (The average reading level of a college freshman is seventh grade.) When you must use jargon, include a hyperlink to its definition or add it to the glossary. Avoid lengthy blocks of text. If possible, let graphics speak for you. Use bullet points, but make sure you:
- Have a lead-in statement that identifies how the points are related.
- Use parallel language so that each point finishes the stem.
- Include detailed notes to the developer. Use your storyboard to communicate all the behind-the-scenes information the developer needs (beyond what may already be defined in the template). This might include notes about the timing of text in sync with audio, animated effects, types of voiceover talent required, and identification of graphics or video segments used.
The ultimate mark of a successful storyboard is when the instructional design and content come to life, both for the client and the developer. As your vision becomes a shared vision, welcome feedback from others. Creating an effective storyboard is typically a team effort. Plus, changes at this stage are much easier to make than down the road.
Click the button below to download our “Highly Successful eLearning Storyboard Checklist” and keep in on hand next time you sit down to create!
About the Author
Jeanne is the owner of At Your Service Resource Group, Inc. located in Jacksonville, FL. She has a masters in Instructional Systems Technology and has used the ADDIE methodology to analyze performance issues and design instructor-led training, web-based training, and other performance support initiatives for over two decades. Her instructional design experience spans the banking/mortgage, railroad transportation, computer and information technology, and retail industries, as well as government sectors.