In a recent chat with a community member, I explained that I like to include some functional navigation in my e-learning storyboards. Why? A few reasons. First, it saves me time because I build my storyboards directly in Articulate Storyline. I can simply do a “save as” of the storyboard and start developing directly in the duplicated Storyline file rather than having to copy and paste from a storyboard into my Storyline course.
Additionally, with a storyboard in Storyline, I can make my links and navigation functional so I get a sense of the overall flow of the course. I like to make sure the click-path and content flow smoothly through the course, and in my experience, you can’t really know that for sure until you’ve clicked through it yourself from start to finish.
When I explained this to the community member, he responded, “Sounds like you build a prototype, rather than a storyboard!” This got me thinking: “What is a prototype, after all?” After consulting with Google and other sources, I think I agree that adding the functionality of navigation does make it more of a prototype than a storyboard. To help clarify the difference, let’s have a look at both:
The storyboard is essentially the blueprint for the course being developed. The storyboard lays out the visuals, multimedia, text, audio elements, interactivities, and navigation details (where does the learner go next?) of each and every slide in your course.
By viewing the storyboard, the stakeholders should get a clear grasp of what learners will see, hear, and do during the course. It sets the expectations for the content of the course, and is used throughout the development phase as the guide for building the course. It typically doesn’t include any functional navigation.
An e-learning prototype is an early model of an e-learning course that is built to test certain concepts or processes, such as the navigation and interactions within the course. An e-learning prototype typically lets designers get an idea of the basic look-and-feel and functionality of a product, but without simulating all of the exact functions or visual design.
A prototype also demonstrates the overall flow of the course, so stakeholders can determine if the linkages laid out in the storyboard do in fact make sense as viewers pace through the course, or if they need to be reworked to branch or route differently.
Based on these definitions of storyboard and prototype, what do you think are the pros and cons of each? Have you ever created a prototype of your own? Leave me your thoughts in the comments!
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