Storyboarding your project is a crucial step in the e-learning development process. The storyboard is the blueprint for your course, so to speak, and will serve as a guideline when developing your final course materials. The storyboard includes information such as:

  • Screen or Slide ID
  • Text content
  • Images
  • Navigation instructions
  • Animation details

The specific information you choose to include in your storyboard depends on the specifics of your project, as well as who’s involved in it. If you’re acting as an instructional designer only, and passing on your storyboard to a Storyline developer, you’ll want to include more information and detailed notes than if you’ll be developing the course yourself. Learn more about what’s typically included in a storyboard in the following articles:

The tool used to storyboard varies from one developer to the next; some instructional designers use a Word document with tables, others use a PowerPoint template. I want to share with you one way you can save a huge amount of time in your course development process: by storyboarding directly in Storyline. Here’s an example of a fully developed storyboard created in Articulate Storyline:

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When you’re storyboarding directly in Storyline, you’re actually creating what some may call a prototype. A prototype is a sample you can click through and experience, which has benefits. (Want to know more? Click here to learn more about the difference between a storyboard and a prototype.) Benefits to building your storyboard or prototype in Storyline are:

  • You get a sense of course flow. When you’re looking through a storyboard that is laid out in tables in a document, it’s really hard to get a sense of how the information will flow when you actually click through it. You’ll have a much more “learner-like” experience if you create your storyboard in Storyline and let your team click through the slides, like the learner will.
  • It’s clearer for the developer. When the content is laid out on each slide with clear instructions and notes, it’s much easier for the developer to take the storyboard and bring to life exactly what you envisioned, as opposed to working from a Word document or something less visual. You’ll have less back and forth and revisions to do when you’re content is laid out clearly from the get-go.
  • You save development time. When you build your storyboard directly in Storyline, the shell of your course is already built and most of the content is already there; all that’s left to do is the styling of your content to make it look nice.

With these benefits in mind, let me share some of the tips and tricks that went into creating this sample storyboard for my Safe Travel module.

Sort out the navigation details

In order to let the learner “click through” the storyboard, you’ll need to set up all of your hyperlinks in your prototype. This is part of what makes a storyboard in Storyline so helpful and time-saving: getting all of your navigation details and links sorted out from the beginning. You will know exactly what buttons are on each slide, and exactly where everything links.

Another tip for building out your navigation: don’t leave the Next and Prev button links to “Jump to next slide” and “Jump to previous slide.” Go through each of those and hyperlink to the actual slide you want the buttons to link to specifically.

Focus on content, not style

Your storyboard is intended to get the flow and content just right. You might decide to include images, or only image placeholders, depending on your project’s requirements. But working out the details like background specifics, font style and size, and accent colors can be done later. First and foremost, you should make sure the content is solid and accurate. Make sure it’s clear for those reviewing your storyboard that styling will come later, or they might get hung up on that.

My tip is to give everything a simple wireframed look with black and white, and a super-simple default font. This ensures the focus is on the actual slide content, not the styling or look-and-feel.

Include detailed notes

Using the Notes field to include detailed instructions or information for reviewers and developers is a great time-saving tip. The level of detail you include in your notes will vary depending on your requirements, but it’s a good idea to provide any details you can about timing and animations, navigation, specifics about images or graphics, or anything else you want the developer to know or include in the course.

The great thing is: once you’ve created your storyboard or functional prototype directly in Storyline, you can simply do a “Save as” of your .STORY file and start developing your course directly from the storyboard. This will save you tons of development time, as your images (or placeholders) and text content are already all included. Simply style your course, add multimedia, and—voila!—your course is complete! Plus, when you storyboard in Storyline, you’ll not only make the development process easier for your developers, you’ll also speed it up.

Do you have any tips of your own about storyboarding directly in Storyline? If so, please leave a comment below.

Want to try something you learned here, but don’t have Articulate software? Download a free 30-day trial, and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.

Nicole Legault
Nicole Legault

Hey everyone - as mentioned by others, the best way to have your content reviewed is to upgrade to Articulate 360 and then you can upload your storyboard/prototype directly to Articulate Review and get your feedback/comments right there. But - for those of you who are still working in SL2 and for who that is not an option, what I used to do in the past is create a word doc with a simple table with 2 columns, the left-hand column had a screenshot of each slide/layer and the right column was for the SME to leave notes or comments. Not exactly ideal, but it worked out well. The longest part was usually taking the screenshots and creating the document with the tables and screenshots. Also - if the person storyboarding doesnt have access to Storyline, consider doing this exact same proc... Expand

Teri Slater
Nicole Legault