Traditionally, while developing a movie, ad film, or any other visual media, film makers used storyboards to visualize the script in terms of camera shots and sequences. Over the years, though various forms of creating a storyboard has evolved, the concept of storyboarding is still considered the ideal strategy for developing a successful visual media.
Similarly, while developing an e-learning course, you can use storyboards to efficiently communicate your ideas and vision to the rest of the development team. Let us see, what are the factors that you would check in a storyboard before saying “yes” to your e-learning development team.
1. Screens are Carefully Numbered
One of the primary elements to be included in your storyboard is the slide number, also called the screen ID or Identifier. Make sure the screen ID is present on every screen for the easy identification of slides in the course. It is not necessary to have screen IDs in your final output. However, you might remove or add slides during the course of developing a course and it is hard to manually remember every slide without a numbering scheme. Hence, screen IDs at the editing and review stages make your work less complex and convenient.
2. Storyboard Confirms with the Visual Style Guide
Make sure the elements such as templates, typographical details, captions, alignments, and more set in the style guide are in harmony throughout the storyboard, saving development time and making the course readily comprehensible to the learner.
Your screen title, sub-heads, main text, everything must follow a standardized style. You cannot have the screen tile of first slide in ‘Times New Roman- size 14’ and the second slide ‘Arial- size10’.
3. Onscreen Text is Standardized and Free of Errors
In case your storyboard is in English, check whether it follows consistent usage of the language. For example, if you are using US English, maintain the same throughout the course. Similarly, while using acronyms, expand them at the first usage and further on just use the acronym.
Also, make sure you check the quality of the language used and edit for grammar and spelling mistakes if any. This will help the developer easily adopt the storyboard to the course development template without having to waste their time on editing the text.
4. Notes to the Developer Match the Required Action
A storyboard will contain multiple instructions to the developer, such as instructions to use animations, instructions on how navigation will work on each screen, when to sync audio with animations, and so on. Make sure these instructions are in sync with the required action. For example, in a gamified assessment, if you want the score card to appear after every third question, the storyboard has to specify this to the developer so that he/she won’t use it at inappropriate places.
Similarly, if you plan to add graphics such as images or videos in your eLearning course, make sure their details are included in the storyboard. If you have already selected an image or video, give the developer the exact name and location of your file. In case you want the developer to choose an appropriate image, the storyboard must brief him/her on the feel, tone and context of the graphic you want.
5. Screen Types are Rightly Mentioned
Pertaining to the learning objectives of your course, each screen of your eLearning course will cater to screen types. Animation, single-select, multiple-select, click on image, branching, infographic are a few of the screen types that can be employed in eLearning. Rightly mention each screen type to the developer. This will help them pick-up the appropriate templates.
6. Transitions are Employed at the Correct Intervals
Transitions enhance the visual experience of your course. However, this visual treat when not rightly applied, has the potential to distract learners. Use appropriate transition effects while moving from one slide to the next. Provide the developer with clear notes on the timing of their appearance and the type of transition you want to use.
Similarly, if you are using an avatar in the course and want it to be displayed on multiple screens, the developer must be informed exactly when the character has to appear and when to start syncing the audio narration.
7. Check Assessment Scoring & Completion Criteria
The completion criterion of your course is another important factor to be checked. Make sure the assessment questions are correct and have the right answers. Also ensure your storyboard mentions the final passing score of the course before sending it for development. Once the course has been programmed, rectifying the errors will become a time and cost consuming task.
Imagine, you are on a four-day road trip with your friends. The route is new to you and hence have to depend on Google maps. But what if the map does not have any indicators to direct you toward the right destination? How would you survive on a road trip without being able to locate where a petrol pump or a restaurant is? Maps help you rightly locate your destination, without wasting time and cost.
Similar is the function of a storyboard in eLearning. It helps you pre-visualize your e-learning course by graphically organizing the content, multimedia, and assessments, in the required format and sequence. In fact, a storyboard acts as a blueprint that enables to sequence the content of your e-learning course in a consistent style with meaningful activities and feedback.