I just got back from a great ASTD-NRC presentation given by Thomas Toth of dWeb Studios, Inc. Toth spoke to us about using storyboards for elearning development.
He began by talking about the history of elearning – how it evolved from computer based training. The important takeaway was that storyboards are increasingly necessary because of the technologies available to build elearning. Storyboards are the blueprints the instructional designer creates so that a developer or programmer can accurately create the experience. A good storyboard has the following elements:
- What the user sees
- What the user hears
- What the user does
When developing a storyboard, the instructional designer should focus on the experience the learner will have rather than focusing on the technology to use. The technical details can be worked out later, otherwise it can stifle the creativity process.
Toth indicated that he uses a MS Word template as his storyboard. This storyboard has the following elements:
- Page detail
- Screen content
- Voice over script
- Animation description
- Graphics description
Toth addressed other important reasons for having a storyboard. In addition to having a blueprint for the developer, the storyboard also controls scope creep by having the client approve the design. Each screen of the project should be documented on the storyboard. The more detail you have in the storyboard, the better the result will be.
Not only did I learn about storyboards, Toth also shared links to resources that he uses, and strategies for using resources in storyboards. It was a very enjoyable presentation with lots of great discussion. I am glad I went.
As a bonus, I got to talk with Toth about his magic background… very cool.