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How To Create Effective Storyboards For eLearning?

How To Create Effective Storyboards For eLearning?
Summary: If you are new to Instructional Design, you have probably already heard the term storyboard, but you still do not know how to create one?

Create Storyboards: Useful Instructional Design Tips For Beginners

In today's article, I will focus on this very important process of eLearning design and development. I will help you understand what a storyboard is, why it is crucial for every eLearning project, what you need to do before and after storyboarding, and how you can create a storyboard on your own.

Ready? Let’s begin.

After you receive the training content from the Subject Matter Expert, you have to select an appropriate Instructional Design technique, define the sequence/structure of the training, and create a storyboard.

What Is A Storyboard?

A storyboard in Instructional Design is a visual representation of the training. It shows how the content will be structured (module per module, screen by screen), and how it will be visualized. In addition to describing the content and the corresponding visuals, it may include a description of the User Interface, navigation, buttons, notes to eLearning developers, etc.

Why Do You Need To Create Storyboards?

  • The storyboard shows the basic idea of the design of the training and is very useful for the team involved in the development process and all the stakeholders, as everyone can get an idea of how the training will develop and adjustments can be made on time.
  • The storyboard will also help you focus on the training, its goals, and how you can accomplish them in the most efficient way.
  • Making a storyboard takes time, but if you think about the design of the training, in the beginning, it will save you a lot of time in the future, as you will not have to make changes after the training has been developed.
  • If you create a storyboard, you will be able to identify the weaknesses of the training and correct them in the early stage of its development.

What To Do Before You Start Storyboarding?

Before you start working on your storyboard, you need to find the answers to the following questions:

  • Who is the target audience?
  • What are its training needs?
  • What is the main goal of the training? What are the secondary training goals?
  • What will be the story of the training? What are the most important scenes?
  • What content/materials do you have? Can you use repurpose them? How?
  • What is the sequence of the content? What are the topics that need to be addressed first?
  • Have the learners ever participated in eLearning?
  • Are they technically savvy?
  • What pedagogical strategy has been used in the past?
  • What tools will you use?
  • How will you show the content–through a story, scenario, or another method?
  • What is the deployment strategy?

How To Create Storyboards Effectively?

The storyboard is usually created in PowerPoint or Word. The document needs to include the following information:

  • Slide number
  • Slide title
  • Text
    On-screen text, a script (narrator’s text), instructions, slide transcript, video subtitles
  • Graphics
    Illustrations, images, charts, diagrams, infographics, icons, tables
  • Animations
    Entrance and exit animations, object animations, animations duration
  • Audio/Video
    Download links to ready for embed audio/video, instructions/description of audio/video content that needs to be developed
  • Navigation
    Main navigation (home, menu, help), slide navigation (previous, next, custom navigation buttons)
  • Assessments
    Pre-tests, short tests after completion of a learning objective, final comprehensive test, decision-making exercises, etc.
  • Examples
    Before or after the theoretical part
  • Additional resources
    Files for download, external links, glossaries, etc.

Keep in mind that you need to be very careful about how you choose and integrate all elements (text, graphics, etc.). Your goal is to create effective and complete training. However, it should not lead to cognitive overload.

What To Do After You Are Ready With The Storyboard?

Once you are ready with the first version of your storyboard, it is a good idea to review it and edit it. It takes more than one attempt to write a quality storyboard, so do not worry if you need to make several edits.

Once you, your team and the customer are happy with the storyboard, you can continue with the development stage.


Storyboarding is not an easy process, but if you learn to create effective storyboards, you will become а top Instructional Designer, and your trainings will be engaging and powerful.