- Consider objectives
The rest of the design stage should be centered around how best to meet the
objectives for the audience and its needs.
- Organize all information and media elements that have already
The first step is to figure out what you have, what you want, and what you
still need in order to meet your objectives. In addition, you may have ideas
for media that you are able to find already produced online, some that you
can link directly to without obtaining permission.
- Review rationale for materials choice and inclusion.
Consider why you have chosen to use various media elements. Does the time
of production warrant the added benefit to the students? How much of a
benefit is the media? I take a more media oriented approach since such
are most suited to the use of storyboards. The rationales should be in
line with the objectives and the audience. How can these objectives best
be met, and how can the audience best be served?
- Produce flowchart or outline where necessary.
I do not believe that it is necessary to flowchart an entire course, but
that is just my preference. For some, this may be necessary to keep all
of the information in an ordered numbering system. For those lessons that
I feel are best served by a more complex or media oriented design, I will
produce a flowchart from which storyboards can be developed. To that flowchart
is appended a standard design flowchart that I use to denote a standard
course template with discussion forums, homepage, etc. I want at least
to assign a number or value to these items in some way so as to organize
and understand linkages that I build into the course at a later time. One
thing to remember is that I am trying to make this process feasible within
typical time and material restraints.
- Write preliminary text outline and full text when appropriate
or already available.
Often, most of your notes have already been produced in other courses in
the face-to-face environment, but when moving to the online environment,
you have to make some changes. Because the information dispersal may not
occur in a linear order, you have to consider adding information and perhaps
redundancies in order to eliminate confusion by students who skip around.
Some argue that you should have all of your text written before or during
the storyboarding process. I do not see this as absolutely necessary. What
is vitally important; however, is that you have a detailed outline from which
to draw information linkages and organization. Once again, I am trying to
streamline the process to make it feasible.
- Produce storyboards.
Below I list the primary consideration when developing your actual storyboards.
- Use a template that is as simple as possible within your
We don't have all the time in the world to create our storyboards. We
are also educators for the most part, with limited resources. Also, as
storyboarding of multimedia has developed, the complexity of the templates
has increased. It has been my experience that this complexity is unnecessary.
I show on the following pages a simple template that has served our group
- Begin with core components.
Begin filling in core items in the storyboard such as lesson, date, etc.
It is important to provide basic information on the storyboard so as
to distinguish one from the other. It is also important to date them
so that you do not confuse early storyboards with redesigns.
- Start pages with a navigation element.
Since the standard navigation element is consistent throughout much of
an educational course, you can usually place this item relatively quickly.
I will often abbreviate elements such which are repeatedly used such
as a basic navigation element.
- Include rationale prior to proceeding too far to avoid
Every page within a course should have a reason to exist. The design
of that page should exist in order to meet the reasons for the page's
existence. Therefore, I include a rationale section at the bottom of
my template. Also, this region can come in handy when verifying a course
with a curriculum committee or for providing rationales to colleagues,
- Add text and multimedia elements.
Next, begin to place your text and other elements. While I do not often
have all of my text completed at this stage, I still go to lengths
to have a detailed outline. By this point, you must also decide how
much space the text will take up and where within the page. Text attributes
can be assigned from different sections such as how certain text will
be highlighted over other text, and how the titles or section headers
- Produce only for pages needed.
I do not produce storyboards for every page within my courses. I simply
do not have the time. Within some productions such as the tutorial
example in the following pages, it is necessary as there are no common
elements. I filled two binders with storyboards for that project and
still ended up having to go back and add some aspects to the tutorial.
On the other hand, within a course common elements do exist. For example,
when working with a course management system, a discussion board layout
will be provided. All you have to do is to organize the forums. I will
usually do this simply with a list of titles that I can add, edit,
and delete as needed when other content in the course is developed
- Build information linkages.
One of the greatest benefits for storyboarding is the ability to use
visuals to develop information linkages. I recommend finding a large
blank wall and organizing your storyboards along that wall. As you
look at the whole, you can visualize the hyperlinks you have places
and perhaps find other ones that will benefit the students. You may
also begin to see objectives that are not being met or that could be
met through an alternative organization.
- Other considerations (color schemes, font
I recommend developing a simple code for telling yourself how some things
should appear. I will often simply use a few colored pencils or pens
to denote color changes. You can also use <b> type coding to denote
font attributes. You can also develop a style sheet on a separate sheet
of paper to which you can refer from your storyboards. You may also develop
different thematic styles within various sections of a course. I try
to only define these styles once (usually when they would first appear)
and then refer back to them for specifics while presenting a general
overlay on independent storyboards. Basically, do whatever makes the
process simplest and the most understandable for you.
- Check fit of overlaying displays and interactive elements
within page context.
Does everything fit where you want it too? Are the images too big? Is
there appropriate room for the content with respect to other elements
on the page?
- Build additional information linkages and review overall layout
Basically go over everything you have done so far and see if anything was
missed from the holistic perspective. Make sure that all of the objectives
have been met. Are there alternative methods that might work better for given
content? Are there areas where time can be saved? Are there areas where resources
can be saved? Is there someone that can be assigned a given task?
You may notice that I did not number the items below. I did not include numbers
because I do not believe that storyboarding is always if ever a linear process.
Depending on my motivation, current sparks of intellect, availabilty of a
needed resource, etc., the order needs to be modified. You can go backwards
as easily as forward. At some point you see the light at the end of the tunnel
and pull everything together into a cohesive whole
Storyboards into Practice