A storyboard is an important element of any eLearning development project. Did you ever think what would a house look like without a blueprint in place? Yes, something similar would be the result of an eLearning course without storyboarding. Technology has radically changed the art of education. Everyone is now using eLearning, as it offers anytime anywhere learning. While developing an eLearning course, every phase of course development is being enhanced, particularly the way a storyboard is developed. Storyboard provides you a clear cut picture of how the course should exactly look. It acts as a blue print of the course with each and every detail (along with the notes to developer) on how the course should be developed.
A storyboard for eLearning is a document that specifies the visual elements, text elements, audio elements, interactions and branching (where the system or user will go next) of every screen in an online course. Many people also add the learning objectives to the storyboard. The storyboard specifies what the graphic designer will create, what the illustrator will draw, what the narrator will say and the interactions that the programmer will produce. The storyboard is usually reviewed by the subject matter expert and your client. It’s the central document of eLearning development. Here are some 4 major reasons why storyboarding is crucial for any eLearning development project:
- Will the concept work?
A storyboard reveals whether a concept will work or not. A concept is typically verbalized in a couple of paragraphs. A storyboard helps the client or the course owner validate whether the concept is working or not, and determine the direction the course is going to take.
- Will the action work?
Storyboards contain notes to developers like what media to be used, what elements get synched with which part of the audio narration, which elements would be clickable, and the resultant reaction. This gives a comprehensive idea of how the course would flow in its entirety. So, the storyboard serves as the blueprint for the module and guides not just the developer, but also the quality controller on how the visualizer has envisioned the module screen by screen.
- Utilizing the budget effectively.
In case of complex animations where it takes a lot of time and budget to develop the final product, it is always better to have an approved storyboard from the client in place. The storyboard helps to envision what the final product would look like. In the meantime, if the client decides to make some changes in the course, they can very well share their inputs during this phase so that it does not affect the production budget.
- Identifying errors at an early stage.
It is during the storyboarding phase that most of the errors related to narration, media, and other relevant details are identified. This saves the much necessary time, effort, and cost that could disrupt the production phase.
- Deciding on appropriate media.
It is essential to get the most relevant and appropriate media into the course. The story-boarder does their best to identify these when they visualize, but they might not hit the mark every time. For example: Are the media complementing the content well, are they appropriately representing the content, are the required elements in the media available, are the required ethnicities represented, etc. At the storyboarding stage, these can be identified and corrected before development starts.
- Hitting off with punch lines or dialogues.
It is while creating the storyboard that you can test if certain punch lines or dialogues would work as you have imagined before. You can write these dialogues and share them with the stakeholders or course owners who have a higher visibility into the curriculum and can guide you about the mindset of the audience you are targeting at. Alternatively, you can also try this tactic with a test audience or pilot participants to see how it works.
- Need changes to be made later?
So, you’ve deployed your course and learners are taking it. Six months down the line, you need to update it. How do you do so efficiently and without creating version issues? Pick up the latest version of the storyboard, make changes in it (in track), and share it with anyone with the latest source files of the module. Continuing to use the storyboard as the blueprint for the course, any developer will be able to take the task up and make the changes without errors and version issues.
The best approach to improve the quality of your storyboarding development is to obtain professional help for developing your new E-learning training course and ensure you attain the desired results from the training. An example of a storyboarding developer is e-training Institute.
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