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Course Creation

How to Create Amazing eLearning Storyboards

Discover how to create eLearning storyboards that bring your lessons to life, making sure your content is engaging, well-structured, and fun for your learners to follow.

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By Brittney Hallmark

elearning storyboards

Storyboards may be one of the most daunting and difficult aspects of the instructional design process. But once you master the process of creating them, storyboards are extremely effective, engaging, and efficient for planning and executing your eLearning projects.

As an instructional designer working in the industry several years now, I can’t recommend enough that you put some time into polishing your storyboarding skills and experience. It’s a skill that, once honed, can take your eLearning courses from good to great, ensuring that your content is engaging, effective, well organized, and easy to follow.

Here’s the thing — the ability to create detailed and dynamic storyboards is a must have if you want to land the best instructional design jobs. Whether you’re freelancing, working in academia, or part of a corporate training team, the expectation is that you’ll bring this critical skill to the table.

9 Steps to Create Better eLearning Storyboards

1. Start with an Outline

Begin with the end in mind! I find it very helpful to create an outline to use when I begin designing storyboards. This is a good way to be sure I am meeting all my goals, staying focused on the objectives and including the content needed in my storyboard. 

2. Build a Solid Foundation

Next, I like to build a solid foundation to construct the storyboard. This is important because you will be able to effectively present content.

This means deciding whether to use a pre-existing template or to design your storyboard from scratch.

A strong foundation ensures that your storyboard will effectively present the content in a structured and coherent manner.

If you choose a template (which I recommend in most cases), use one that aligns with the learning objectives and the overall design of your course.

The foundation of your storyboard should facilitate a clear and logical flow of information, making it easier for you to organize ideas and for learners to follow along.

Consider factors such as the layout of content blocks, the integration of visual elements, and the sequence of learning activities.

A well-built foundation not only enhances the effectiveness of your eLearning project but also streamlines the development process, ensuring that all essential components are included and well-organized from the start.

3. Choose Your Tools

There are a variety of different options for use when creating the storyboard. Personally, I’m a big fan of PowerPoint, but there are other tools out there you could use, like Google Slides or Keynote.

4. Identify Your Audience

Determine the exact audience you are targeting. Your planning needs to be directed towards meeting the needs of your target audience. Your content delivery for children will be different from continuing education for older adults. 

Here are some questions to help you pinpoint your audience more accurately:

  • Who are the learners? Consider demographics such as age, profession, and educational level.
  • What is their prior knowledge on the subject? Knowing their starting point can help tailor the complexity of the content.
  • What are their learning objectives? Understanding what your audience aims to achieve with your course can guide the focus of your content.
  • What challenges or barriers to learning might they face? Identifying potential obstacles (e.g., limited time, accessibility issues) can help you design a more inclusive course.
  • What technology are they comfortable using? This can influence the platforms and tools you choose for delivering your course.

5. Plan Your Approach

As always, think about the overarching goals you have in mind for this project.

Think about questions like these to help you determine what is needed for your next steps: 

  • What is your end goal? 
  • What are your objectives? 
  • How do you plan to achieve these goals and objectives? 
  • How will you determine if your learners have achieved the content learning you are about to present to them? 
  • Do your learners have technology knowledge and experience?

These are the types of questions you must keep in the forefront of your mind to help guide your planning. 

6. Lay Out the Learning Sequence

Now, you are well on your way to the fun part! Laying out the learning sequence and creating the content. You will need to be in contact regularly with the subject matter experts (SME) on your team when you get to this step.

As you lay out the learning sequence, consider the order.

Storyboards are very visual learning tools and can be utilized to engage your learners, so choosing the proper timing of presentation will be important. You want to ensure that the learner does not become overwhelmed or become distracted.

Keep the content easily digestible and appropriate in length and intensity based on the needs of your target audience. 

7. Decide on Additional Elements

After you determine the order of the learning sequence, now it is time to decide on the additional elements you want to add into the storyboard.

Incorporating videos, photos, and other multimedia tools are valuable in the layout and construction of storyboards.

Finding ways to hook the learner and keep the content presentation fresh and interactive is key in creating a learning experience that will be effective.

This is a good time to collaborate with a multimedia specialist on your team, if one is available. They can offer insight into choosing appropriate technology to include that will help your target audience interact with the content.

This is also a good time to touch base with your SMEs. Ensure that you are staying on track and providing all the content that your target audience needs.

Accept feedback and use it to improve the learning experience you are creating for your learners. 

8. Include Assessment & Feedback Methods

Don’t forget to include a way to check for understanding.

Will your learners participate in a knowledge check after each section?

Will they have an assessment at the end of the storyboard?

The options are plentiful.

Remember to seek out feedback from your learners. This will help you  continue to improve your practice and hone your skill set further.

9. Build Your Script

Once you have a good storyboard set up, you can start to create your script for your voiceovers.

Aim for clear, concise language that conveys your message without overwhelming learners with dense text.

I also recommend adjusting the tone of your narration to suit the preferences and expectations of your target audience, whether it’s formal, conversational, or somewhere in between.

Personally, I’ve found that using active voice in scripts makes your content more dynamic and easier to follow, which is especially important in an eLearning context.

Lastly, wherever possible, I’m a big believer in using storytelling techniques to make the learning experience more relatable and memorable.

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