Getting started: Workflow for content development/edits/design

I am an experienced Articulate Presenter user, and I am making the shift to Storyline for a new project. For past courses we had existing PowerPoint files to modify and convert. For this project, the SME is developing the content from scratch. This gives me more flexibility in the course development, but we are at a loss for how to exchange content and discuss possible interactions and branching. (In this case, we have only one content author, and he will not be using Storyline. There are a couple of other reviewers.)

  • How do your content authors provide their content to you?
  • How do you communicate changes to content once it's in Storyline?
  • Do you use flow diagrams to document branching logic?
  • How do you define interactions?
  • Do you use storyboards/mockups?
  • What other tips or advice can you suggest for streamlining e-Learning content development?
11 Replies
Nicole Legault

Hey Pam! Thanks for posting your question(s) here in the forum. I'll answer this based on personal experience and how I've approached this type of project in the past (when I was developing an e-learning course in Storyline, with a SME contributing content for me)

  • I would have my content author (in this case SME) provide the content in whichever format they feel most comfortable using (minimal learning curve) and have access to, likely either Powerpoint or a simple Word document. I just want to keep things simple and get the raw content (Text, images) in a format that is easy for me to work with and copy/paste into Storyline.
  • I would then work with that content and build my storyboard directly in Storyline. At ths point I am just working out which text and images will be on which slide, and how they will link to each other/how users will navigate. I am not yet doing any styling or "prettying up" of content. Just getting everything in place, figure out where all my buttons will be etc.
  • Once I have the storyboard I will publish this and share the published output with the SME for review. I stress that it's not styled and this is just to get the navigation and content worked out first.
  • I will give the SME a Review document which has a table which two columns. The left-hand column has a screenshot of each slide, and the right-hand column is used for SME comments. Afterwards, I take the document an go through and do all the SME edits/corrections.
  • I personally haven't used flow diagrams, but you could take a screenshot of the "Storyview" in Storyline. (There's no way to print it right now, but you could zoom out and grab a screenshot, which would show the "Flow" of the course)
  • Once the storyboard content and navigation flow is approved and finalized, you can style your slide content. Add in the final photos, choose some nice fonts, place your content, add animations, etc.
  • At this point, you can again publish and provide it to your SME with a review document for their final review and corrections/typo fixes, etc.

I think everyone probably has a slightly different process, but this is a process that has worked well for me in the past! I think that storyboarding directly in Storyline has been a huge time-saver on my past projects. Hope this helps a bit =)

Daniel Brigham

Hi, Nancy: That tool is interesting. I assume you've used it with success? Might be especially helpful with rapid prototypes.

And Hi, Pam: I used to create detailed storyboards (see attached). They are good for specificity, but am not sure how many non-ID people can really picture how the thing comes together. I am moving my development process towards rapid prototyping.

First, I work with the client to create content, which takes for freakin' ever sometimes. Once the content is written down, I will develop the key slides in Storyline (maybe 30% of the total), record the narration, show to client, and say to the client, "What do you think so far?"

I've got a presentation and blog post that may be of some interest, concerning development process and working with our beloved SMEs, respectively. They might be of some interest. --Daniel

Pam Richmond

@Nicole - thank you for the helpful tips. I will definitely use that as a starting point and adapt as needed.

@Nancy - the tool looks interesting, but as government users we generally have issues with paid subscriptions. Not that it can't be done, but we don't go that route unless it's mission critical.

@Daniel - thanks for the tips and sample storyboard. I love the idea but agree than non-ID people might not get the vision or follow it very well, and it would be time-consuming. Your presentation and blog post were also very helpful. I like the content mapping and might use a light version of that. Rapid prototyping seems like a good way to go.

Diana Jaffee

Along with all of the above, I also publish the Storyline file in it's rough 'Storyboard Prototype' phase and provide a link or publish file for the SME to view the prototype so they can get a feel for the navigation and interactivity. If I don't have a scratch audio track yet, I'll put callouts on screen with ideas and instructions about the intent for the slide, such as lightboxes, etc. That's been a really useful addition to my process, and I credit Michael Allen's SAM/Functional Prototype approach! My SMEs really appreciate being able to see how the course may function, especially if it's a highly interactive course. It's so difficult to describe/understand branching in a linear Word document! It's well worth the effort even at an early stage and it can help to develop a common development language for you and your SME.

deb creghan

Pam - my process is similar to Nicole's. Most of my SMEs use PowerPoint, so that's what I usually get. We work out any branching on paper first so we don't miss any of the nuances with decisions and consequences. Then I build them in Storyline and publish it so they get an idea of the flow of the branching. I don't use storyboards; I've had more success with prototypes in Storyline (or Presenter if i was using that tool) - the SME can give better feedback when they see how a learner will experience it, even though there isn't any design applied and minimal images have been added at this point. If there is an interaction that I think would be applicable I create a prototype of it and show it to the SME so they can see how it will behave. If they like it it becomes part of the course; if not, I trash it. In the end it's much faster to do it this way. Hope this helps - good luck!

PJ Babcock

@everyone.......... I LOVE I am the only one with StoryLine and have many SMEs and reviewers all over the country. This tool works wonderful, does not need a lengthy explanation on how to use (I do recommend new reviewers to watch the tutorial), keeps the comments and revisions in one place and very affordable. I've saved too many hours to count for both myself and reviewers by not having to hold meetings all the time to review the learning together.



P.S. I don't work for ReviewMy Elearning