To Storyboard or Not to Storyboard
Some e-learning designers “storyboard,” others do not. Me, sometimes I do and sometimes I do not. Below is a list of reasons I do not use storyboards. I also include a list of when I find it worth the time to storyboard a course. Before I begin, I must note that I always create a thorough course design plan (CDP) for each course. My CDPs include a rationale, target audience, participant prerequisites, course description, terminal objectives, enabling objectives, evaluation plan and a course map. So, here we go.
I do not use storyboards because:
- I run a one-person e-learning department. I am designer and developer. After the analysis and design, the course is very much in my head and I do not need to hand anything off to a developer.
- Often my courses are non-linear and both difficult and time consuming to storyboard. I have deadlines to meet, people!
- I have new ideas during development and scrap half the storyboards anyway.
Why I use storyboards:
- If the course is very, very complex and non-linear, it is the only way I can get a handle on it and remember where I am going from screen to screen. For example, branching simulations.
- If I have other co-workers involved in the actual design of the course. This gives them a great visual for where we are going with it. In other words, a great way to step back and “run through” the course before we start the development phase.
- I include a lot of notes on the storyboards regarding the multimedia, technology and/or coding needed, etc. for each screen. This keeps me much more organized and helps prioritize many tasks.
- Whenever people see a wall full of storyboards in your office they will think you are really busy. That’s always a plus.
Yes, I know it appears I contradicted my self with the non-linear thing, but there is a certain point where it gets so complex that I feel it is necessary to storyboard.
FYI: This post was inspired by an online discussion I read where it appears e-learning designers are very split on the subject of storyboarding. I would love to hear from you if you storyboard your courses and why.