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Storyboarding is a simplistic system to organize your thoughts as you build a course, primarily for an eLearning project.  But, storyboarding can be helpful in any type of curriculum building, be it eLearning, instructor led, or blended.  Storyboarding was started by the Walt Disney Company as a method of laying out the details of early cartoon stories.  Storyboarding was so successful that other studios soon copied this concept and it has now made its way into our business as talent developers.  My first experience with storyboarding occurred back in the 1990s when we were just beginning to develop on line learning.  I and many of my contemporaries saw the inherent logic in this approach to curriculum development and began applying it to not only on line course development but also as a method to get curriculum development teams to work more closely together, regardless of the presentation media.  Considering that about 70% of people are visual learners, the storyboard makes it easy to get several people thinking along consistent lines of content.  Storyboards have evolved from making simple sketches on paper an taping them to a wall to more sophisticated methods of storyboard specialized software.  Let’s look at a simple process to use a storyboard in a curriculum development project. 

Our project will be to build a blended course to teach customer service to a library service desk.  As with any course development, we have to complete the basic ADDIE or whatever ISD model you choose, to develop a course.  For our example, let’s assume the ANALYSIS phase of ADDIE is complete.  Let’s start our storyboard in the DESIGN phase.  I’ll omit writing Draft on each of these items, but assume each item is a draft at this point in the ISD process.  Just as with any good curriculum development, objectives, competencies and so forth are draft until they are approved by your local curriculum development review and approval process. 

Lesson Objective:  ESW Understand the proper use of customer service techniques enhances library patron’s use of library resources.

Lesson Outcomes/Behaviors/Competencies: 

  1. Understand customer service concepts and misconceptions

  2. Improve customer satisfaction and customer loyalty

  3. Adapt to specific customer behavior styles

  4. Handle difficult customers

  5. Effectively use email, phone and face-to-face meetings for improved customer service

Lesson Strategy: 

               This course is for library employees who interact with library patrons.  Patrons may be adults or children, native English speakers or non-native English speakers, be highly educated or have very limited education and have a high interest or limited interest in library resources.  To accommodate this wide variety of patrons, the customer service specialist must be able to conduct themselves in a proficient manner regardless of the customer’s background or issue brought to the customer service specialist.  The lesson will begin with an open discussion to get the students to define “customer service”.  Once a group agreed definition is developed, post that definition where it will be visible to all students during the lesson.  Next, ask students what they see as the role of a library service provider.  Capture responses on flip chart.  Then, provide the appropriate definitions of customer service concepts and the various misconceptions of each concept.  Reinforce the positive aspects of this with questions to the students.  Next, ask students how they can manage the customer’s success.  Capture these items on flip charts.  Summarize this material and introduce the online portion of the lesson.  Explain that part 2 of the lesson is conducted on their assigned laptop and personal connection devices.  Part 2 covers the various customer personalities, customer service on the phone and customer service using email. 

Lesson Outline:

                       Part 1

1.1 Define customer service

1.2 Role of library service provider

1.3 Customer service concepts and misconceptions

1.4 Manage the customer’s success

                     Part 2

2.1 Customer personalities

2.2 Customer service on the phone

2.3Customer service using email












Now that we have our basic outline, let’s look at what our storyboard for this might look like.  Keep in mind this is only an example and, as the disclaimer goes, your experience will differ. 









These are just simple TEXT TYPE story boards that provide guidance to curriculum and multimedia developers.  Let’s look at another example, this one of a VISUAL STORYBOARD.  This is just a sample of how a visual storyboard can be constructed.  The variations, just as with any thing in curriculum development are limited only by the developers imagination. 


You can fill in this storyboard just as easily as any other.  The big difference in this type of storyboard is that you provide the visual cues you want in the final product by adding clip art or photos or some other visual media to the “Visual” section with the intent the visual input will provide a good cue to the actual content developer.  Typically, the more guidance you can provide here, the better. 

Most everyone involved in curriculum development these days has at least Microsoft Office Word and PowerPoint on their computer.  You can create your own form of a story board very simply by using these tools.  If you are fortunate enough to have Microsoft Visio also, it comes with a variety of clip art that may be useful in building visual storyboards.  Also, there are plenty of both free and pay clip art libraries available.  If you are going more high end, say for example using Adobe Captivate, or Articulate or some similar authoring system, you will have access to even more advanced features and capabilities than are available with the Microsoft systems.  If you have the budget for it, I would certainly recommend something like the Adobe eLearning Suite or Articulate.  The real beauty of these systems, if you have a small staff, is that the person building the storyboard often is the one who translates the storyboard into the final eLearning product.  Of course the storyboard can evolve as the lesson develops and then provides a good documentation of why the lesson was developed the way it was.  No matter the brand, these programs have become much more user friendly in recent years.  In the “old days” of eLearning, you had to have a very specialized skill set to operate some of the programs.  I can remember when the Adobe Captivate specialist was the highest paid member of the training team, simple because they were the only person who knew how to operate the software.  Sometimes they could actually “hold the team hostage” since they were a single point of failure for curriculum development.  That is no longer the case thanks to the demand for simplified programs that can be used by “non-technical” instructional designers and the competition for market share has resulted in very user friendly programs.  Most of these can even be used on a variety of tablets as well as workstations or laptop computers.  One such program I’ve found extremely useful is Adobe Presenter.  This used to be Macromedia Breeze but Adobe couldn’t stand the competition so they bought up the program and repackaged it as Adobe Presenter.  Presenter simply converts PowerPoint presentations to interactive elearning capabilities.  You can even add quizzes and various interactive features to an already developed PowerPoint.  Most of the newer such program take advantage of HTML 5 which has upended the eLearning world.  No matter what program you use, Adobe, Camtasia, or some other system you’ve located on the website, be sure your system works for you.  Most any system can be improved by the use of good storyboarding.  Storyboarding not only documents the development and likely evolution of the curriculum, but also provides a fast track path to good curriculum, whether eLearning, blended or traditional instructor led training.

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