How to Create an Instructional Design Storyboard?

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How to Create an Instructional Design Storyboard?

When it comes to creating eLearning that delivers results, a storyboarding template is a must-have. Storyboarding is a planning technique that comes from movie production. It’s a framework for building the content of your digital learning. Use it to plan the content and map all the elements, including text, charts, infographics, animations, and video.

An instructional design storyboard offers a host of benefits. It helps you visualise eLearning. You can see how it looks and functions and quickly identify glitches or weaknesses. Refining your design is much simpler with a storyboard.

Storyboarding also makes it easier to collaborate with others. Whether it’s approval from a subject matter expert, sign-off from a client or instructing a designer, storyboarding brings your vision to life.

Today’s article takes you through all you need to know about instructional design storyboard templates. We explain the benefits and share examples of storyboard templates.

Let’s get started.

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Why do you need a storyboard template?

Building an eLearning program without a storyboard is like navigating to a new destination without Google Maps. It’s doable, but it’s a whole lot harder.

Storyboarding is a best-practice planning tool that streamlines the creative process. And while creating a storyboard template might take time, you will reap the rewards down the line. In fact, it will save time. You are less likely to make costly mistakes or have to make changes on the fly.  

Why do you need an instructional design storyboard?

There are many moving parts to instructional design. Text, animation, graphics, videos: You name it, instructional designers are juggling several balls.

An instructional design storyboard helps you stay on top of the different elements. You can map your entire course to the smallest detail, ensuring a logical and coherent program. And you can also keep an eye on the bigger picture of meeting the learning objectives.  

What are the benefits of using an instructional design storyboard?

Using an instructional design storyboard saves you time and ensures you deliver eLearning that achieves results. However, the benefits continue beyond there. Here are some other headline advantages:

  • Visualise eLearning: With an instructional design storyboard, you get to see what your program will look like to the end user. It’s a real opportunity to test out your design. You can review how your visuals, animation, and interactive elements fit into the wider flow. Use the storyboard to check that the pace of the content is set at the right level. Double-check that exercises, quizzes and activities satisfy the learning objectives and help with knowledge retention.

  • Prioritise the learning experience: A storyboard has enough detail to help you assess the learning experience without going beyond the point of no return. You can identify any weaknesses and can easily tweak elements or make changes.

  • Streamline collaboration: eLearning is a team effort. Clients, graphic designers, and subject matter experts will all have input before it’s finalised. A storyboard gives these stakeholders a real feel for the finished design. And the sooner you get them involved, the better. Making changes at this early storyboarding stage is much easier than with a prototype.

  • Better budget planning: An instructional design storyboard helps you better budget. You can map out how much each element will cost, making you less likely to go over budget. Plus, making changes at this stage is less expensive than when you are about to go live. 

How do you create a storyboard for eLearning?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you start creating your storyboard template.  

1.    Needs analysis: The essential first step involves identifying your target audience. Think about their needs and learning preferences. Now is also the time to set the eLearning learning objectives, as these will drive the entire design process.

2.    Identify the instructional design approach: With the learning objectives in mind, think about how you will present the content. You might use storytelling techniques, scenarios, simulations, or a narrated animation. You may choose to use a combination of different content styles. By the end of this stage, you will have a course outline with modules and sections.

3.    Gather, organise and sequence content: Pull together your graphics, text, charts or explainer videos and begin organising the content. Think about what goes where and consider the flow and pace. For example, where do learners go when they leave one screen? You may need to add branching options to the storyboard template. And remember your learning objectives. These should be the guiding light for organising the content.

What tools can you use to create an instructional design storyboard?

There are several tools available to help you create a storyboard template.

  • Google Docs or Microsoft Word: Using these apps to create your storyboard has several advantages. Both are easy to use and readily available, making it easy to collaborate with stakeholders. Clients or subject matter experts can leave comments, and you can edit in real time.

  • PowerPoint: This is a popular and cost-effective storyboarding tool. You can use it to design eLearning slides and get a sense of how it looks on-screen.

  • Authoring tools: Some authoring platforms, like Articulate Storyline, have an integrated storyboarding template. You can create a basic version in the storyboard before adding elements once the design is finalised.

What should every storyboard template include?

Each storyboard will be different. However, there will be some standard components, including the following:

  • Title or number for each screen

  • Module, topic or lesson

  • Graphic mock-ups with placeholders for images and videos

  • Voiceover script

  • Navigation buttons

  • Branching options

  • Explanatory notes

Tips on creating an instructional design storyboard template

  • Keep the learning top of mind: Check that every element of your storyboard links back to a learning objective. If it doesn’t, then question why it’s there.

  • Consider different learning types: Remember, learners are a diverse bunch. Include various elements to appeal to all students, whether visual, auditory or kinaesthetic.

  • Be consistent: Choose a theme and stick with it. Ensure all modules have a similar look and feel.

  • Keep it visual: The storyboard is your chance to convey what the course will look like. So, keep it visual so stakeholders don’t have to work too hard.

What are the different types of instructional design storyboard templates?

The good news is that storyboard templates can be used again and again. Once you finish a project, just remove the detailed content. Your template is ready to go when you start a similar project.

Here’s a selection of the most popular storyboarding templates instructional designers use all the time. These examples also tie in with instructional design theories and models.

Action mapping storyboard template: Action planning breaks down training into four building blocks:

  • Measurable goals

  • Required actions

  • Activities to support learners in performing the required actions

  • Essential information to enhance performance.

Using this template ensures eLearning matches the action mapping technique.

ADDIE storyboard template: This instructional design model sets out five steps for effective instructional design:

  • Analyse

  • Design

  • Develop

  •  Implement

  • Evaluate

This template supports you in planning and organising pre- and post-launch design tasks.

Bloom’s Taxonomy storyboard template: According to Bloom, there are six steps to gaining new knowledge or skills:

  • Remember

  • Understand

  • Apply

  • Analyse

  • Evaluate

  • Create

Use this template to understand what students need to know and plan your course to support them at each stage.

Merril’s instructional design principles storyboard template: Merril identified five principles underpinning effective instructional design:

  • Task or problem focus

  •  Activation

  • Demonstration

  • Application

  • Integration  

This template lets you plan your course content with real-world activities and exercises to support learning outcomes.

70-20-10 storyboard template: This learning model identifies three ways students learn:

  • 70% of knowledge comes through experience and experimentation

  • 20% is by working with others

  • 10% is acquired from formal learning.

Use this template to develop eLearning that satisfies the different ways people learn. Adding scenarios, simulations, role-playing and group activities optimises knowledge retention.

Instructional design storyboards: Up-skill with the Digital Learning Institute

Ready to dive into creating an instructional design storyboard? Consider enrolling in our professional Certificate in Instructional Design. Find out how to design a storyboard for interactive, engaging eLearning. And explore how to build an eLearning prototype using authoring tools like Articulate Storyline.

Contact one of our expert advisors for more information.

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