Most top instructional design consultants know the importance of having a solid design plan in place before jumping into the development stage. This will help ensure a higher rate of a success for corporate training programs. When eLearning is being developed, instructional design services should include a visual storyboard. This will save money, time and avoid clients from being surprised and/or disappointed by the end product. A visual storyboard can be an essential step and bridge the gap between what is envisioned and what will be.
You recently purchased a home and your best friend is coming for her first visit. You’ve had several phone conversations about the colors of the walls, how charming the home is and all the great potential the home could offer in the future. When she finally arrives your best friend says, “Oh – that’s not how I envisioned the home looking!” She pictured the home being not quite as “rustic” with light green paint throughout. You did say you painted the walls green; you just never told her what shade of green.
Her reaction should come as no surprise because all of your communication at this point has been through email and phone conversations.
That brings us back to the world of instructional design, and if you are providing an instructional design service to a client, and you don’t specify what “shade of green” you are intending to use, you may get a look of surprise when it comes to the final deliverable. A well designed storyboard will cover all of your “shades of green” but also illustrate much more.
Storyboards provide instructional design consultants with a means to communicate with clients, subject matter experts and developers. It should almost be viewed as a road map or guide. During that process you should provide visuals, review content, give instructions, write narration, explain animations and organize content.
Elements a Storyboard Should Contain:
- Graphic Design Requirements
- Developer Notes
Visuals, Style and Navigation:
The old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” holds true in storyboarding. The visuals should contain all of the graphical elements – size, color samples, font, font color, backgrounds, navigation style, images, drawings, text placement and anything else to help them visualize the story.
The content component of a storyboard should provide the subject matter expert with the opportunity to see exactly what the message is going to be and how it is going to be presented. This is their opportunity to review the content and work with you to make any edits before the development begins.
If your course includes voice-over-talent or closed captions, including narration in your storyboard is important for both the subject matter experts and the developers. You need approval from the subject matter experts of what the narrations says. The developers and the instructional design consultant should ensure the narration works with the on-screen elements.
Graphic Design Requirements:
Sometimes graphics and images are provided to you by the client, sometimes custom graphics need to be created. It is important to show what is required in the storyboard. This can include requesting a graphic treatment like re-coloring images or asking a graphic designer to build a custom navigation panel. The level of work will vary and that needs to be demonstrated in your storyboard.
These instructions should explain to the client and subject matter experts how a page will work and feel. The notes should include an explanation of the navigation, buttons, and other interactions that will be built into your course.
Storyboards are critical tool for instructional design consultants. They communicate to your clients, subject matter experts and approvers of all the details included in the final deliverable. Storyboards relay the message visually and through text to illustrate all the information the parties need to know. This lifts a vision from the page and brings it to life on the learner’s screen.
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