My Digital Story: Topic, Script and Storyboard

I have just finished a coursera online MOOC on Powerful Tools for Teaching and Learning: Digital Storytelling. I have decided to write a series of blog posts to share my lessons learned, experience and finished story of the course. You may want to read earlier posts before going ahead with this.

1. Digital Storytelling: Introductory Post

Sometime in September, I was to begin a series of posts to share my learning experience from a coursera online MOOC I took recently on Digital Storytelling and its educational uses. Unfortunately after that first introductory post (you may want to consider reading the first post), work took me up and I couldn’t blog through. However, I have decided I will still document and share my experience with a few other blog posts and here it is! Therefore, in this blog post I will introduce my topic, its educational audience and uses, my script and show you my storyboard for my story.

The first step to creating a Digital Story is to select a good topic, one that has a personal touch with you. With several ideas of topics running through my head and fighting for first place, I had to settle for something in my professional field of e-Learning – Storyboards for e-Learning.

Topic: Principles of Storyboarding for e-learning designs.
Audience: This story will be suitable for e-learning students or professionals seeking to understand the concept of storyboarding.

Educational ideas or objective: This story will help students and professionals who design e-learning content to:
1. Understand what storyboarding is
2. See examples of storyboards
3. Appreciate the benefits of writing storyboards
4. Write storyboards

Classroom or informal use of my Digital Story:
In a professional workplace, my story should be useful to train new e-learning staff how to employ the benefits of storyboards to build e-learning courses and instructional materials. In the classroom, lecturers can make use of my story to visually display to students the concepts and principles of storyboarding as a necessary stage in e-learning design.

Viewers’ take-away from my digital story:
After watching my story, viewers should be drawn to the concept of using storyboards for their designs. The main idea or theme of this story will be to display all about writing storyboards for e-learning designs.

Writing the Script for your Digital Story.
Care must be taken to note that the most effective part of a digital story is the ‘story’ and not necessarily the ‘digital’ part of it. A good story must be told and must be able to stand on its own without the ‘digitals’ for it to be effective. A good story begins with a good script and I was set to write a script for my Digital Story on Storyboarding. Below is the final script for my story after several feedback was given:

As a growing elearning professional, my usual way of developing courses is to open my authoring tool, jot down some ideas that are floating around in my head and I am good to go! Unfortunately, this has often meant that I would work on the first two or three slides and I get stuck! I would leave it for a few days, only to discover that the overall theme is not consistent.
What was I missing? What did I not think about? What I didn’t fully understand was one critical stage in the design of e-learning… Storyboarding!

What is Storyboarding?
In simple words, storyboarding is that phase in elearning design where you plan out your course before the actual design. The material that results from this phase is called a Storyboard. This serves as a guide or map as you put one graphic, text, interaction or content over another.

One question several students and newbies ask is what degree of detail should be included in my storyboard?
I have always answered by saying your storyboard should contain as much detail as needed as a guide for you. Typically you want to include:
* the course details: title, client, no of slides, learning objective;
* menu description,
* audio narration if to be included;
* image description or actual image;
* interaction description.

Storyboards could be in different forms depending on the storyboard tool you adapt.
* You could simply sketch with your hand on paper…
* Write a text only, in table format using a simple tool like Microsoft word
* Include images and animation using a more visual tool like Microsoft Powerpoint or storyboard That.

With storyboarding, you must remember that there is no ‘One size fits all’. It all depends on what is convenient for you and probably convenient for your clients as well.
Why do we storyboard before creating e-Learning designs?
One technical reason is that Storyboards forces you to have a reason for every text, image, audio, animation, interaction, based on your learning objective.
Storyboarding is a necessary and important stage in the design of e-Learning instructional materials. If instructional designers employ the benefits of Storyboards, such training materials will become more engaging for the learners.

Developing a Storyboard for your digital story.
I was going to be creating a story on the importance of Storyboarding in design of e-Learning, I needed to display that with a Storyboard for my story. As I shared in the story, storyboards could take different forms ranging from simple hand sketches, to using a text only in table format and finally using a visually appealing tool like Microsoft PowerPoint or StoryboardThat. Well, for an earlier e-Learning heroes challenge I participated in on the use of storyboards, I learnt to use the text only format so I went that way this time as well. The image below is an excerpt of the storyboard, click on it to download full storyboard.

Storyboard for my digital story (Click to download)

Click here to download a template for the storyboard in Microsoft Word.

Further Resources

Digital Storytelling: How to write a Script

Writing a Script for a digital Story

Using a Storyboard as a project blueprint

Using e-Learning Storyboards

E-Learning Storyboarding 101

From Storyboard to Course design

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