If you’ve ever created e-learning projects in slide-based apps like Storyline 360, you know 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. Once the storyboard is ready, you send it to stakeholders for approval before moving on to the next phase of course creation.
If you’re like most designers, you probably use tools like Word or PowerPoint for your storyboards. But have you ever tried storyboarding directly in Storyline 360? In this article, we’ll walk you through why and how to do just that. Here we go!
Why Storyboard Directly in Storyline 360?
When you storyboard directly in Storyline 360, you create something stakeholders can click through and experience—called a prototype. This has a number of benefits, including:
- Making the design process more intuitive. Designing a storyboard using a Word document can be pretty abstract. And even though you could use PowerPoint slides, you’re still missing the interactive component. There’s something about being able to click through the slides that makes it easier to organize content and make sure it flows seamlessly together. It might take more time up front to create a functional storyboard because you need to build out the navigation, but in the end it saves you time during the development phase.
- Helping stakeholders visualize the end result. When stakeholders look through a Word or PowerPoint storyboard, it can be hard for them to get a sense of how the information will flow when they actually click through it. When you create a storyboard in Storyline 360, stakeholders can actually interact with it. This helps them understand what the final course experience will be like, making it easier for them to give relevant feedback. And thanks to Review 360, stakeholders don’t have to have access to Articulate 360 to give their feedback—they just need an email address.
- Making things clearer for the developer. If you’re passing on the storyboard to a developer, it’s much easier when it’s created in Storyline 360. Because the content is already on the slides, there’s less margin for error because the developer doesn’t have to copy and paste content or interpret your explanations for how things should be laid out. All that’s left to do is make your content look nice and add interactivity.
- Saving time. Because the development and review processes are so much easier with this method, the overall course creation time is shorter. And who doesn’t love to save time?
With these benefits in mind, let’s take a look at what the storyboard process looks like in Storyline 360.
Storyboard in Storyline 360
When you storyboard in Storyline 360, simply build out your slides as you normally would—without worrying about the design aspects. That means adding any on-screen text to the slide and the script for the voiceover narration (if applicable) to the notes panel. If you’d like, you could take it a step further and include text-to-speech audio to help your stakeholders get a feel for what that experience will be like. Often people react differently to written text than they do to spoken word, so doing this could help you avoid having to re-record audio later on.
Be sure to insert image placeholders for any graphics you plan to include so stakeholders can get an idea of what it will look like. Indicate whether the graphics are placeholders or final so stakeholders know what level of feedback to give you.
If you’re going to pass the storyboard off to a developer, include notes about any animations or interactions you’d like them to add during the development phase.
Take a peek at this Storyline 360 storyboard example:
You’ll notice that while the storyboard is fully functional, the slide layouts are extremely basic and there’s no graphic design to speak of yet. These are things that’ll be added during the development phase.
Keeping this first version of the storyboard basic allows stakeholders to focus on what really matters—the content.
Publish to Review 360
Once the storyboard is ready for feedback, go ahead and publish it to Review 360. From there, you can grab the share link and send it to your stakeholders, along with instructions to guide them through the review process. You might want to include things like:
- A deadline. It’s best to give your stakeholders an end date for their feedback. Otherwise, they might not prioritize reviewing your project and you could be left waiting quite a while. Depending on their schedules and amount of content to review, you might need to give them a few days or a few weeks. This is something best discussed ahead of time, during the planning phases of your project.
- The type of feedback you’re looking for. It’s important to clarify which parts of the storyboard are final (the content) and which parts aren’t (the design) so stakeholders can give you the type of feedback you need. If you don’t explain that the graphics aren’t final yet, they might waste valuable time reviewing the design elements of the course—something you haven’t even tackled yet. Make sure they know their focus should solely be on the content, the level of interactivity, and the flow of the course. Tell them that the final touches that make the course look sharp—such as images, fonts, and colors—will come later.
Depending on the project, you’ll have more or fewer review cycles. When you need to make edits, simply open Review 360 on one side of your screen and Storyline 360 on the other side (or on a second monitor). Then you can read through the comments and resolve them as you make edits. Once that’s done, republish your course to the same Review 360 link and let your stakeholders know a new version is available so they can confirm the edits have been applied. Once everything is approved, you can move onto the development phase.
Build the Final Course
Whether you’re developing it yourself or sending it to a developer, putting the finishing touches on your e-learning is much quicker when you build your storyboard directly in Storyline 360. That’s because all that’s left to do is finalize the graphic design and insert the images, audio, and other multimedia. Once that’s done, you can simply republish to Review 360 and let your stakeholders know a new version is available via the same link.
And because Review 360 stores all versions of your course, stakeholders can go back and compare the storyboard version to the finalized version to see how it’s evolved—making the whole process even easier.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, storyboarding directly in Storyline 360 and using Review 360 for the approval process will save you and your stakeholders time and help you get your courses to your learners faster.
Want more storyboarding tips? Check out these resources:
- What to Include in an E-Learning Storyboard
- 11 Best Practices for E-Learning Storyboarding
- E-Learning: Storyboard vs. Prototype
What storyboarding techniques do you use for your Storyline 360 courses? Let us know in the comments below!
Want to try storyboarding directly in Storyline 360, but don’t have Articulate 360? Start a free 60-day trial, and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning. If you have any questions, please share them in the comments.