Microlearning

Storyboarding Tips to Create Powerful Microlearning Assets

A storyboard is the blueprint that tells the story of a specific lesson, and storyboarding is not a simple exercise. But it does get easier with the right approach!

So, how do we go about storyboarding?

Let’s explore how to do it right.

Groundwork Before Starting Your Storyboard

A storyboard gives the framework of the lesson before it goes into production, providing clear direction and description about the visuals, text, audio, interactions, navigation, assessments, etc.

Your microlearning strategy and microlearning map lay the foundation for a high-quality storyboard. The microlearning map helps clarify the purpose of the microlearning (to supplement, reinforce, augment, or remediate the training). It also defines the use case scenarios you need to use – pensive, performance-based, persuasive, post-instruction, practice- based, or preparatory.

The groundwork before starting the storyboarding includes deciding on the learning objectives, desired performance, tasks involved, performance criteria, content, design considerations, motivational elements, and the type of asset. These assets could be one of the following or a combination of any of them:

  • Podcast
  • Video
  • Gamification asset
  • Whiteboard animation
  • Short sim
  • Infographic
  • PDF

Once you have decided on the type of asset, you’re ready to create a specific, focused microlearning program. As in any other type of production, microlearning production is also done in 3 stages:

  • Pre-production
  • Production
  • Post-production

Planning for storyboarding starts in pre-productionbased on the insights gained from the microlearning map. Better the planning, better the storyboard!

Dos and Don’ts of Effective Storyboarding

A well-documented and self-explanatory storyboarding is like a great recipe for an effective microlearning lesson.

The artwork, design, graphics, etc. of your microlearning lesson must be based on your vision of the end product. That’s why it is critical to ‘script out’ your storyboard, define the level-of-engagement of the microlearning asset, and integrate it with technology.

For instance, for a podcast or a video, the storyboard informs the technical experts (shooting the video or recording the podcast) exactly what is needed. It’s all about effectively communicating with those who actually develop the microlearning asset.

storyboarding table format can make this job much easier. A good storyboarding table specifies and clarifies all the technical and non-technical elements/aspects of the microlearning asset to the production team – animators, video shoot team, programmers, graphics team, instructional design specialists, or others.

A good storyboard leaves no scope for confusion and should be easy to understand for your production team. Knowing the competency levels of the team will help communicate with them efficiently and effectively!

Your storyboarding table must:

  • Make it clear what the host, subject-expert, or the trainer needs to say (narration).
  • Specify how much of the host will be visible on-screen.
  • Specify the kind of video or visual that appears during the narration.
  • Define what is displayed on-screen when there is no narration.
  • Plan for every second of what the learner will see while interacting with or watching the content.
  • Clearly specify all digital assets to be used (images, graphs, diagrams, charts, videos, whiteboard animations).

An Example of Storyboarding

Let’s take the example of a real estate company that opted for microlearning to train their salesforce on a newly launched townhouse residential project.

The purpose of the microlearning was to supplement a forthcoming larger training program using a preparatory use case scenario to introduce their sales team to a much sought-after housing proposition.

‘The Serenity’ townhouse residential project

The sales team are already selling high end luxury homes costing around $3 million within Los Angeles. They now needed to be trained on the new gated community 25-townhouse project, with each townhouses priced at $1 to 1.3 million

The microlearning lesson is planned to be delivered as a series of videos that the sales team can watch on the go on their smart phones.

Storyboarding table for your microlearning lesson

The storyboard specifies what’s goes into the video, and which element goes into which part of the instruction.

Let’s see how it was done by the real estate company using this simple 3-column table template (more columns can be added for additional elements) in the storyboard that includes:

  • Script: written text thatblends content and design to create a learning asset
  • Blocking: the precise staging of actors to facilitate their performance
  • Asset: form and type of content that facilitates learning
Script Block Asset
  Hi, I’m here with some good   news! For quite some time now,   you’ve been asking to sell mid- range, spacious homes just   outside of LA. Well, that’s what   you are getting now! CEO talking   Video of CEO addressing sales   team from LA his office. CEO’s   name and designation appears.
  I present to you ‘The Serenity’– 25   gorgeous townhouses in the   Thousand Oaks suburb. CEO talking   Jpeg file showing masterplan of   the new townhouse project at   Thousand Oaks (near LA).
  The Serenity! It’s all in the name.   These townhouses are part of a   quiet upscale community in the   Ventura County – an enviable   place to call home. CEO talking   Video showing a glimpse of   Ventura County (roads, parks,   smiling residents and families)
  Barely an hour away from the   heart of LA, these townhouse are   for those seeking for a great living   experience with their family day   after day! To reach this great   location, just take Freeway 101   from LA. Thousand Oaks is   located exactly 35 miles from   Beverly Hills – a mere 40-minute   drive to this land of tranquillity! CEO talking   Google map-based graphics   showing distance from Beverly   Hills via Freeway 101 to site   location (distance and route   highlighted).
  Constructed on three-levels, it is a   great bargain for customers   looking for a spacious 3200   square foot home. CEO talking   Video of CEO directly addressing   the audience.
  With 4 bedrooms with 4   bathrooms, each is a steal at  just   over a million dollars. Let’s hear   more from Adam, the mastermind   behind this brilliant project. He’ll   tell us what makes The Serenity   so special! CEO talking   Video of CEO talking looking into   the camera.
  Hi, I’m Adam, the chief architect   of this project. So, what’s the   concept behind The Serenity?   Who is it meant for? These super   spacious, convenient townhouses   are for those wanting to   experience resort-like living near   LA. Clean air, and living amidst   nature. That’s what makes it   unique! Those going for this 3- level townhouse property get the   best of modern living in a   beautiful gated community.   Adam, the architect of The   Serenity, talking   Video of architect talking on site   at The Serenity. Work going on in   the background.
  Located in the excellent   Thousand Oaks suburb, the gated   complex offers a host of   amenities.   Adam, the architect of The   Serenity, talking   Regular and drone-based videos   of actual location and gated walls   of The Serenity highlighted. Low   volume gentle and happy   instrumental music playing   throughout the video.
  Each home will have a high- ceilinged tiled entry  leading to a   spacious living room.An adjacent   outdoor patio allows residents to   relax and host lavish parties. The   2nd level has a large dining room   and a spacious and efficient   kitchen along with a beautiful   breakfast area. The two   bedrooms on this level overlook   the beautiful skyline of Thousand   Oaks. The 3rd level houses two   master bedrooms, each with a   walk-in closet, an ensuite   bathroom with a tub and shower,   and a balcony. This makes the   townhouse the epitome of luxury. The laundry area is conveniently   located upstairs adjacent to the   bedrooms. The 2-car garage with   storage offers direct access to   the unit. You get to enjoy the   beautiful lush green grounds with   swimming pools, spa, sauna, and   a recreation room.   Adam, the architect of The   Serenity, talking   3-D animation virtual tour video   shows  project highlights as the   narration goes on. Each aspect of   the home is highlighted in a   stunning setting. The décor is   depicted at different times of the   day, with exquisite lighting,   fixtures, and accessories.
…….storyboarding continues    
The storyboarding continues detailing the interiors and exteriors, including the number and type of rooms, beds and baths, dimensions & layout, appliances & utilities, heating & cooling, fireplaces & spa, gas & electric, windows, doors, floors & walls, levels, entrance, accessibility, views, pool, frontage, water & sewer, surface and elevation.

Based on the storyboarding table, the production team goes ahead with the shooting of videos, creating animations and graphics, and so on. Once completed, the assets are integrated into the microlearning lesson.

The storyboard becomes the first in the series of microlearning lessons that conveys the message in a 5-to-7-minute microlearning lesson.

This example gives you a glimpse of the storyboarding process. Actual storyboarding is far more intricate and elaborate. What’s important is to follow the logic and framework to get it right!

To conclude, storyboarding is a strategic planning process. A well-thought-out microlearning strategy, a good microlearning map, and the right storyboarding framework will get you excellent results.

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