If you’ve done e-learning projects in Storyline 360 before, you know that storyboarding is a critical, up-front part of the e-learning design process. It’s when you draft and organize the text and multimedia content for your course into a document, creating the “blueprint” for the course itself. The storyboard document is then approved by stakeholders and used as a starting point for course development. Having an approved storyboard document will ensure you know exactly what to build and that the final product contains all the right elements and information.
I’d like to share my insider process for saving time: storyboarding directly in Storyline 360 and then using Review 360 to get buy-in and approval on my courses.
Storyboard Directly in Storyline 360
When I’m building a Storyline 360 course, my first step is to create my storyboard directly in Storyline 360 itself. I choose this over a text document for multiple reasons. First, I get a better sense for what content fits on a slide by actually working with slides. Second, I prefer to build functional navigation and interactivity directly into my storyboards so I can experience the navigation, the flow, and the level of engagement that the course offers as I’m designing it. Granted, it takes more work up front to create a functional storyboard because I need to build the triggers and test everything to ensure it’s working; but in the end it’s a wash because it saves time during the development phase.
As I storyboard in Storyline 360, I typically include all of the text content as well as placeholders for objects such as images or characters. If the course has narration or videos, I include a script or text-to-speech audio clips in the storyboard version so stakeholders can get a feel for the audio content.
Take a peek at an example of a Storyline 360 storyboard I created:
This is a sample of slides from a much larger course. In the example included here, the storyboard is fully functional. The navigation works, as well as interactivities such as click-and-reveals and feedback layers. I’ve included some basic notes where needed for my reviewers.
What’s not included? You’ll notice I don’t have background images, character poses, or pretty fonts and color schemes. Those are touches and details that don’t affect functionality and can be decided during the development phase.
Upload to Review 360
Once I’ve got my storyboard ready to go, I upload it directly to Review 360. From there, I grab the share link and send it to my reviewers, along with instructions. Usually I send a quick email to each reviewer that includes the following information:
- Share link. When I share the Review 360 link, I can also password-protect it if I want an extra layer of security.
- Deadline. I give the reviewer a specific date by which I’d like to have their feedback. Depending on the situation and amount of content to review, your reviewers might need a few days or a few weeks; plan accordingly.
- Direction. I make it clear what the reviewers should be looking for and the type of feedback they should give. I want reviewers to know this version is a storyboard and not the final product. At this point, the focus is solely on the content, the level of interactivity, and the flow of the navigation. Adding the final touches that make the course look beautiful, such as images, fonts, and colors, comes later.
Depending on the project, you might have several review cycles. When I need to make edits, I’ll open up Review 360 on one side of my screen and my Storyline 360 application on the other side of my screen (or on a second monitor) and go through the comments, making edits and clicking “Resolve” on each comment as I go. Once that’s done, I can republish it to the same Review 360 link and go through another review cycle if needed. Once I’ve got my storyboard file nailed down exactly how the stakeholders want it, I can move on to building the course itself.
Use the Storyboard to Build the Final Course
One of the big benefits of storyboarding directly in Storyline 360 is that when it’s time to build your final course, you’ve already done a lot of the heavy lifting. Since all your navigation and interactivity is already set up in the storyboard, you can just do a “Save As” of your .STORY file and start building out the final course right from the storyboard. Simply add your styling: background images, character poses, accent colors, decorative fonts, animations, etc.
Here’s a look at the final content that was created from the storyboard shared earlier:
Notice how the example now has background images, character poses, animations, and more. All these final touches come together to make the content look much more sleek, polished, and professional.
Hopefully this example helps you understand how you can streamline your development process and save time by storyboarding directly in Storyline 360 and then uploading to Review 360 as part of your storyboard approval process. What storyboarding technique works for you on your Storyline 360 courses? Let me know in the comments below!
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