Planning for Learning: Why Use a Storyboard

The Best Choice...according to the experts

Before placing any content online, it is recommended that you create some sort of "storyboard" or outline of what you want on in an online course or other Web site.

Cave, 2002 – "Story-Boarding is a popular management tool to facilitate the creative-thinking process and can be likened to taking your thoughts and the thoughts of others and spreading them out on a wall as you work on a project or solve a problem."

Lohr, no date – "You can think of a storyboard as a visual outline of your instruction. A storyboard helps you plan for instruction because you draw out in detail all the elements. It also helps you to communicate with others about your ideas."


Why use a storyboard:

  1. Helps you think ahead about what the instruction is going to look like when it is completed, what the students need to do in order to learn, and what the faculty will do during the course.
  2. Helps you create the direction (flow), the structure and sequence for the instruction (Klaus, 2002).
  3. Faculty will find that teaching goes more smoothly and is less stressful and demanding.
  4. Each lesson will fit into the course plan.

Basic Information

What is a storyboard?

A storyboard is a plan for teaching and learning activities. It can be a combination of outlines and visual sketches (e.g., flowcharts) that map out the contents or sequence of ideas (Klaus, 2002).

Questions to address while storyboarding

  1. What do you want the students to learn by the end of the instruction?
  2. What do the students already know?
  3. What is the content you must include in the instruction?
  4. What is the content that is optional?
  5. What are the learning activities that will help the students learn.
  6. What is the best sequence of learning activities?

How to write a storyboard

Storyboards take many different forms. A simple storyboard may be a flowchart, a table, an outline while a more complicated storyboard for multimedia development may include a detailed description of the visual elements such as text, graphics, video and animation (Orr, Golas, & Yao, 1993). It will also include the sequence and what will occur simultaneously.

A storyboard as a table may look like this

Storyboard with dates and topics
Timeline Topic Student activities /assignments Faculty provided resources Assessments
Jan. 20 Video Editing Edit a movie footage using iMovie software
  1. Digital Camera
  2. Computers
  3. iMovie software
Students will create a 30 second movie that includes at least two transitions, two titles, two effects and background music.
Jan. 27 Online Portfolio Create an online portfolio
  1. Step-by-step instructions
  2. Computers
  3. Internet access
Students will create an online portfolio that includes at least one web page and four links to course projects.

You can use a simple outline instead of table as a storyboard to plan for your instruction.

A course plan example

  1. General course description
  2. General course objectives
  3. General course requirements
  4. Outline of overall course structure
  5. Listing of general resources needed to develop the course
  6. Outline of planned lesson components
  7. Learning objectives for each lesson
  8. List of existing resources needed for each lesson
  9. List of new resources needed for each lesson
  10. Preliminary interaction plan
  11. Preliminary plan for student activities required for each lesson
  12. List of resources students will need for the course
  13. Estimate of student time to be spent on each lesson/course component

Multimedia Storyboard

A storyboard for multimedia development should have extensive detail including the text for all audio, the screens for all video, people and prop arrangement, what happens simultaneously, what happens sequentially, and so on. Below is a brief sample:

Flowchart showing content on each page and how they are connected

The format of the storyboard should match your style, the details required, the complexity of your development team, etc.


Cave, C. (2002). Storyboarding.
Retrieved May,14, 2003, from [No Longer Available]

Huff-Corzine, L. (1998). Storyboarding 101: Turning Concepts into Visual Forms.
Retrieved May, 14, 2003, from

Klaus, N. (2002). What is a Storyboard?
Retrieved May, 14, 2003 from
http: // [No Longer Available]

Lohr, L. (no date). Flowcharting and Storyboarding.
Retrieved May, 14, 2003 from
http: // [No Longer Available]

Orr, K.L., Golas, K.C.& Yao, K. (1993).Storyboard Development for Interactive Multimedia Training.
Retrieved May, 14, 2003 from

Wallace, Marie. (2003). Storyboarding Bibliography.
Retrieved May, 14, 2003 from [No Longer Available] Alternate Sites (Storyboarding Part 1) (Storyboarding Part 2) (Storyboarding Part 2 and Bibliography)

Additional Links

For Student Projects

storyboard.gif7.27 KB