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What is a storyboard?

A storyboard for a course, or e-learning module, is similar to a script for a movie, or a blueprint for a building. Many e-learning developers begin working on a course by creating a storyboard first.

I prefer PowerPoint to Word for creating storyboards, because it is quicker and easier for me to create visual representations in PowerPoint, and I can use the notes section for the narration and to describe the screen functions and interactions.

It’s also easy to export PowerPoint slides in the form of handouts with notes to Microsoft Word. This can serve as a storyboard, particularly if a client desires or expects a storyboard in Word form. Above is an example of a storyboard I created in PowerPoint and exported to Word, simply because a particular client specifically wanted to see a storyboard in Word format.

It is equally easy to convert PowerPoint handouts into PDF form for a storyboard, as in the example below.

storyboard slide

Another reason I prefer storyboarding in PowerPoint rather than Word is I can directly import PowerPoint slides into Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate to work on the final product.

What about “rapid prototyping”?

When designing e-learning, I generally bypass the formal storyboarding process and jump right into developing an initial prototype, using whatever authoring tool I’ve determined is appropriate for the module (usually Storyline or Captivate). This approach is known as rapid prototyping.

It’s more productive for me to work this way, because I don’t have to duplicate so much work unnecessarily. It’s much faster to actually create the screen functions and interactions I want than it is to laboriously type out descriptions of the interactions!

Ultimately, the decision whether to storyboard or not is governed by time constraints, the subject matter and complexity of the module, and client expectations.

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