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Whenever I’m starting work on a new eLearning project, I always like to start my design process by creating a course outline and by drafting an eLearning storyboard. Not only are storyboards great for helping you organize your content, but they can also help you validate your learning content with your subject matter experts before you invest a large number of hours developing your course.

Regardless of what type of eLearning storyboard you prefer to use, there are certain elements that you should always include in an eLearning storyboard. Some of these elements are designed to help provide a sense of organization and structure to the storyboard and other elements are intended to provide a holistic view of the course content and structure.

Here are five things you should always include in an eLearning storyboard.

Slide Numbers & Titles

Include slides numbers and titles in your eLearning storyboards.

When drafting or reviewing an eLearning storyboard, it’s easy to get lost in the content, especially when the course jumps back and forth between slides or includes branching interactions. To avoid this, consider including slide numbers and titles to your eLearning storyboard.

While these slide numbers and titles may change during the development process and may never be viewed by the learner, they will make it easier for your SMEs during the review process to identify the topic of each slide and discuss edits.

Learning Objectives

Include learning objectives in your eLearning storyboards.

When drafting an eLearning storyboard, your subject matter experts are likely to want to include additional content and details. While the addition of new content might be valid, it’s important to make sure it supports the overall learning objectives of the course.

To do this, I recommend including the course learning objectives at the beginning of your eLearning storyboard. This can help remind you and your subject matter experts of the goals of the course, as well as whether or not the content within the course supports those goals.

Text & Audio Content

The bulk of your eLearning storyboard should be comprised of your learning content. Whether your eLearning course will include audio narration, on-screen text, or both, your storyboard should always provide a detailed outline of any content that will be learner-facing.

Because you’ll want your subject matter experts spending the majority of their time reviewing the learning content, make sure your text and audio content is easy to identify and edit within your eLearning storyboard.

Description of Graphics

Include a description of your graphics in your eLearning storyboards.

If you’re drafting a written storyboard, it’s important to outline what graphics and images you plan to include on your slides. This can help you and your subject matter experts “see” how you plan to visualize the learning content.

For each slide, describe what graphics, images, or animations will be presented, along with the text and audio content.

Description of Interactivity & Functionality

Include a description of interactivity and functionality in your eLearning storyboards.

If you’re designing an eLearning course that will include interactivity, it’s important to describe how that interactivity will function.

Describing the functionality of your course will help your reviewers understand how learners will experience the course. For example, if the learner is jumped to another slide or a pop-up window is displayed when they click a button, indicate that to your reviewers.

The Bottom Line

While it’s easy to think that an eLearning storyboard is only for drafting and organizing the raw learning content, it’s also a tool for describing how the learning content will be visualized and how the course will function. Including the key elements I outlined in this post can help make your eLearning storyboard more effective, not only for you, but also your subject matter experts.

If you’re new to storyboard, I recommend checking out The eLearning Storyboard Notebook, which can help you to start drafting a storyboard for your next eLearning course.

What other items would you suggest folks include in their eLearning storyboards? Share them by commenting below!

Tim Slade

Hi, I’m Tim Slade, and I’m a speaker, author, and founder of The eLearning Designer's Academy. Having spent the last decade working to help others elevate their eLearning and visual communications content, I have been recognized and awarded within the eLearning industry multiple times for my creative and innovative design aesthetics. I’m also a regular speaker at international eLearning conferences, a LinkedIn Learning instructor, and author of The eLearning Designer’s Handbook.

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