Is the Humble eLearning Storyboard Due for Retirement after Almost 80 Years?


E-learning storyboards are considered indispensable in eLearning development. But do you think it’s time for eLearning storyboards to retire?

The Humble Storyboard is almost 80 years old. Is it time for its retirement?

A month ago, Connie Malamed posted a discussion in LinkedIn inviting readers to donate storyboard formats to be offered as a resource to the eLearning fraternity. Many have offered the formats they were using. You can find them at the eLearning coach. I too sent a couple of them (yet to be uploaded; Connie is a terribly busy person but still finds time to maintain an extremely useful site for learning professionals like us).

History of the E-learning Storyboard

That started my thinking about this fairly “low-tech” component in a high tech world of technology-based learning and corporate training. I was amazed to discover that our ubiquitous storyboard is actually an 80-year old Ancient 🙂 . The humble word document that serves us in developing eLearning courseware has an interesting history. According to Wikipedia, the first storyboard was developed at the Walt Disney studio during the early 1930s for the 1933 Disney’s Three Little Pigs! I also learnt that it is used in many ways by many professions – Film, Theater, Advertising, TV, Publishing, Business, eLearning…

We at CommLab India use MS Word to make our storyboards. PowerPoint is also used by some and Authoring tools by a few. But I think ‘MS Word’ is by far the most extensively used in developing online course storyboards. Connie has a very useful section, “Storyboards for eLearning” on her site for those who wish to pick up some tips.

I wonder if we can give the ol’ storyboard a ‘makeover? Can we come up with a tool that offers all the following.

  • Desktop Publishing software like Ventura or PageMaker to build a tailor-made formats with ease
  • PowerPoint to create some elementary animation
  • Clip Art Gallery for images / photographs
  • Various Assessment Components that can just be selected and populated
  • Audio / Video Gallery of music, standard instructions, video clips…
  • Dictionary and Thesaurus

Any more ideas?

Thank you for reading my blog. I look forward to your comments.

RK Prasad


Instructional Design 101: A Handy Reference Guide to E-learning Designers

Recent Comments

  • 6/07/2010 at 3:09 pm

    Great blog, where exactly did you found that knowledge in this article? I’m pleased I discovered it even though, ill be checking back quickly to check out what other content you have.

  • 6/10/2010 at 5:07 pm

    I would say it is upto the great innovative minds to use this tool to their advantage, it is a great collaborative tool and I think it is a potential for creating waves.

  • 6/11/2010 at 11:16 pm

    The main reasons for storyboarding in our firm is for team development of elearning courses in an ISD process. It has it’s limitations in communicating externally with SMEs and stakeholders, but is extremely useful in internal team communication throughout the development process. All developers, taking on any number of roles in the complex process, use the one document to work from.

    I have in the past developed some more robust features over the basic empty Word document. This comes mainly in creating pre-formatted tables for every possible screen layout or interaction type and then saving them as auto-text that can be added by the ID, selected from custom toolbars.

    Unless you are working as sole designer/developer on a course, the storyboard as a communication tool has proven to be extremely valuable. Even if you are the sole designer/developer, if you or another team member has to make updates months or years later, having that document as a staring point is invaluable.

  • 1/05/2011 at 9:19 pm

    Hi there, I just wrote a guest blog about this very subject. You can check it out here:

    I hope its of value and adds to the subject area. Thanks!

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