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Storyboards capture sequences of all the scenes necessary to tell a captivating story. According to Wikipedia, one of Walt Disney’s editors first came up with the idea to draw scenes on separate sheets of paper and to pin them up to tell a story in sequence. Nowadays, that task is likely to be performed digitally, because teams often work across time zones or need to interact with clients in different countries. There seems to be a movement away from boring, linear PowerPoint presentations towards more engaging, conversational material grouped into “chunks” of information. Each “scene” or “section” of the educational material is also accompanied with a quiz, to challenge the learner. In the era of the digital classroom, many teachers are also storyboarding their lesson plans.

Depending on your needs, there are a variety of tools to suit the goals of any projects. Here are some of the results I found after Googling for a few minutes.

Storyboards can be created for comics, school projects, blog content, and infographics. There are plans for personal use, teachers, businesses, and filmmakers. If you are not tech-savvy, this intuitive interface is a godsend. I was up and running within minutes with a trial version to create a very simple cartoon called “The Story of DNA.”

2. PowerPoint/Word

PowerPoint remains the backbone of traditional and elearning systems. The 6 reasons to create storyboards with PowerPoint include ease of use, variety of shapes accompanying the storyboarding feature, easier customization, hyperlinks, the ability to save and reuse these shapes, as well as the ability to collaborate with your team. Download instructions for this add-in feature can be found here. Separate apps can be used to insert polls/quizzes.

However, if one needs participation or content approval from several external parties, it is probably wise to opt for even simpler template options. Connie Malamed at the eLearning Coach has been kind enough to compile a depot of storyboards donated by members of the elearning community. One example from Praveena Mitran is included in this post.

Praveena Mitran's PPT Storyboard

Content strategists are not always instructional designers. Similarly, instructional designers are not always graphic designers. Sometimes, external reviewers of a large document prefer to look at initial drafts in text format. Fortunately, it is easy to collate initial feedback of a storyboard “skeleton,” containing just enough information so that stakeholders can get an idea of the outline/suggested images/suggested videos, by using Word.

I have included another example by Praveena Mitran of a storyboard generated in word, containing room for instructions to a graphic designer and developer. This document can also easily be reviewed using the “track changes” feature in Word.

3. eLearning software

I must confess to not having worked my way through the ever-growing list of authoring tools for eLearning materials. I will direct interested readers to this post about 10 Authoring Tips for Easy eLearning Design.

Instead, I have scouted for software with lots of user-friendly features, customer support, and the ability to generate mobile-friendly content. At the moment, I have settled on the Articulate Storyline 360, and Adobe Captivate 9 programs. There is a learning curve attached to both programs, but it is worth the effort. For instance, one can design the storyboard directly in Articulate Storyline 360 and export it in word format. That means the content creator automatically has all the assets organized and at their fingertips. Reviewer changes can also easily be incorporated in a streamlined workflow. However, others may prefer Adobe Captivate 9, as it is only $29.99 per month for the subscription, as compared to $999 annually for a freelancer. Templates for these programs can also be purchased from eLearningdom.

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