December 31st, 2013 Course Creation

most-importantBefore you jump into creating any elearning program, it is important to first create a storyboard for the course.

Surprisingly, there are many instructional designers who do not put enough effort to an effective storyboard. Besides making it difficult to create a consistent learning environment for users, failing to generate storyboards for your courses can actually be detrimental to your productivity in the long-run.

If you are doing work for a client, internally or externally, the storyboard is the perfect way to establish buy-in. In fact, it is a good idea to require sign-off on all storyboards prior to starting the build phase.

Getting sign-off from key decision makers will limit the amount of rework as you start to build the course. Sure, you will deviate to some degree from your storyboard, but this process holds everyone accountable.

If you are new to storyboards, then the steps below (originally detailed by the eLearning Brothers) is a great place to start.

1. Understand the Goal of the Course

This the main reason why you are creating the course – it’s the primary objective. Make sure everyone is on the same page as to the purpose of the elearning.

2. Collect Content

Assess what content currently exists and map that against what needs to be created. The gaps you discover are what need to be covered in the course content.

3. Define the Learning Objectives

Each course should have objectives, and those objectives should relate back to the overall goal of the elearning program as defined in #1.

4. Create Assessment Criteria

What good is elearning without measuring its effectiveness? Before creating courses, you should define what you will measure, and how this data will be collected.

5. Use Templates Where Possible

For your storyboard, and courses, you should use elearning templates to help speed-up content development. Templates also let you focus on the content instead of the design – perfect for tight timelines.

6. Choose a Design Model

Certainly optional, but it is helpful to understand the lifecycle of your course development, and models like ADDIE or SAM can ensure everyone is on the same page as to development and delivery expectations.

7. Select Design Elements

Are you going to rely on simulations, videos, graphics, and text? If so, define each of the elements in accordance to the material you are going to deliver. For example, software training via elearning often benefits from simulations.

8. Choose an Authoring Tool

There are many out there (Articulate, Captivate, iSpring, etc.), so you’ll want to do your research on which tool is ideal for your situation – including type of content, timeline, and budget.

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide. He is currently founder & CEO of GapScout. Justin's Homepage | GapScout | Twitter


3 responses

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Agree! Storyboarding is a great first step to take since it helps you organize your thoughts in a practical way.

And with regard to #7, animated video can be a great way to tell a story, illustrate a difficult concept, or add some fun to your content. Other great use cases include sexual harassment training or other similar touchy subjects that might play out badly with live video.

Great news Justin!

Interesting that you make mention of ‘authoring tools’ – I’ve heard of these before, but wasn’t sure that I actually needed to use an authoring tool when creating courses with WordPress using LearnDash (also connected to my LRS for reporting purposes).

What you say re: storyboarding absolutely makes sense – just trying to put this piece into action.

Could you help me understand what exactly the difference is, between the above configuration VS. using an authoring tool with WordPress? i.e. what do authoring tools actually do that I can’t already do

Thanks again to you & your team.
Keep up the superb work 🙂

Avatar Brett

Hi Brett

LearnDash and WordPress enable you to create a bespoke delivery system for your courses. Indeed, the features within LearnDash enable you to deliver learning content which enables learners to achieve their objectives and also quizzes to help assess that they have done so.

Now think of just the learning content, the resources you provide which enable the learner to learn. OK, for example, you could just provide a video recording of a presentation or maybe just the slide set from that presentation, but does that engage the learner?

You can go a step further by using an authoring tool which can perhaps take that video, or the slide set, as a starting point and add real interaction within the presentation in terms of questions and feedback which give the learner a better experience leading to confidence that they are making progress.

In my spare time I have put together a simple demo LearnDash site which, so far, has one free course which demonstrates the additional benefits of using an authoring tool in conjunction with LearnDash. Here I am using iSpring Suite 7, a rapid development tool which is a PowerPoint add-on, for some of the learning resources.

You are most welcome to take a look –


Avatar Colin

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