Mar 17, 2009

Storyboarding and Objectives

I've started reading Creating Successful E-learning by Michael Allen.  It is an interesting read so far and Allen's thinking seems to be very pragmatic.  A thought hit me while reading the book that maybe I've given too much attention to the storyboard in my course development process.  I'm even thinking I don't need a separate storyboard step since the course itself serves as the storyboard.  Because of this, I think I'll go back to the development process I'm writing and give more attention to the learning objectives than to the storyboard.

I'm using rapid development tools which make it easy to change the course on the fly.  If I have to change a learning objective late in the process it is a bigger deal than changing the way a learning objective is presented to the learner.

The current training project I am working on has brought this to my attention because the learning objectives were a little fuzzy from the start.  I am taking a brick and mortar classroom based course and putting it online in a self-paced format.  It was decided that I would not cover everything in the course for the first release of the online version; however, as I was developing it I realized that I needed to cover some of the omitted objectives from the classroom based course after all.  If we had spent more time on the objectives earlier, we might have caught this problem.  I don't want learners to feel they are missing out when they take the online version of the class.

What's your experience with objectives in relation to the course development process?


Joe Deegan said...

Hi Jonathon,
I too have considered dropping the storyboard step of the process but found myself spending more time doing re work and switching things around. Maybe consider revising how you create storyboards. I try to make the process as quick as possible by simply writing out a description of the visuals on the slide and the narration or text. I don't bother creating a visual prototype of the slide, just a text description. This helps me layout the structure of the slides and it is a quick process once you know your objectives. Another benefit is it gives me something to show to the stakeholders before investing too much time in development.

Casey McKewon said...

Hi Jon,

There is an authoring tool that could help combine all three that you are currently using. email me at and I will send the info.

Sreya Dutta said...

Hi Jon,

I think this is a very valid thought. Not creating a storyboard reduces one level of abstraction and simplifies that course development process. But one needs to consider the fact that depending on the complexity of course one needs to design we may choose either of the ways of working. It is a fact that we as IDs can leverage on the power of rapid elearning tools and create quick courses. But since we are IDs, there is a limitation that we may face in some cases when it comes to developing the best user interfaces and interactivity. Sometimes this task is best left to a course programmer and graphic developer. You should read the thread on Cammy Bean's blog that discusses this topic elaborately and gets buyins and views from fellow IDs.

Hope that helped.


Jonathan Shoaf said...

Thanks for the responses. This is an issue I'll continue to redefine in my upcoming course development.

I think that individuals have their strengths and weaknesses. I am very comfortable with course programming so it is natural for me to use rapid development tools to prototype ideas and create course outlines. While I am comfortable with that, I can see that the people I work with would not be.

If the development process needs to scale then it may make sense to have a storyboard process that works for every one involved (instead of just building off my strengths).

The end game is to make sure the user is engaged in the concepts they are learning. We tell them about the concept, we let them practice, and then we ask them to recall what they've learned. Isn't that what a storyboard is about?