Storyboard Template for Online Course

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Team College Learners

Planning eLearning content without a storyboard is kind of like going on a vacation without a destination or a plan to get there … it may sound like an adventure, but it might be a bumpy ride.

Storyboarding is a planning process that was originally created to pre-visualize sequences of events in motion pictures and animations. But for eLearning, storyboarding helps simplify the complex task of planning your content for the most impactful learning experience. By organizing your concepts in a story map, it makes planning out your training videos, activities, and materials much easier.

Why should you create a storyboard?

Adding an extra step to the planning process to save yourself time seems counterintuitive, but it’s true– storyboarding can save you a lot of time in the instructional design process, and help you collaborate better with others.

Creating a storyboard helps keep your training focused, and makes sure you hit all the important points in your student’s learning journey to get them to their desired outcome.

Here’s why:

  • Measure twice, cut once: Jumping into development mode before organizing a script or a storyboard could come back to bite you later on. Sketching it out will make pre and post-production a lot easier because there’s a lower chance that you have to go back and reshoot things.
  • Collaboration: Storyboarding is useful when collaborating with others, like subject matter experts, team members, and freelancers. A storyboard will help you avoid confusion by showing them exactly what you had in mind.

How are eLearning storyboards used?

In film production, storyboards assist in planning your overarching plotline, helping the narrative flow from one scene to the next.  In Instructional Design, storyboards help you in a similar way.

Here’s a high-level overview of the main storyboarding use cases for online courses:

  • Planning a video or series: Mapping the scenes and storyline of your instructional videos with visual, production, and narration elements.
  • Planning a course or lesson: Map learning objectives and individual learning modules in the learning sequence students follow as they make their way through.

What to include in a storyboard:

We’ll share specifics in the templates we provide, but generally, a storyboard should contain the following items:

  1. A naming convention: Especially if you’re doing this in bulk, it’s helpful to pick a naming convention to mark on all your slides to reflect the course, lesson, and section within the lesson. For example: [Storyboarding Course | Lesson 1 | Section 1], or shortened to [SBC | L1 | S1].
  2. Slide numbers and names: You’ll want to tag each slide or page so that you can easily find them once you’re ready to start producing.
  3. Graphical and written descriptions: Depending on which template you choose, you’ll need visuals or a description of what’s happening.
  4. Transcripts: In addition to what’s visually happening in the scene, what’s being said? 
  5. Production notes: How are you going to set up the scene, and transition between scenes.
  6. Navigation: Where does this slide fit within your overarching production, or your course. 
  7. Literally whatever you need: Your storyboard is designed to help you cut through complexity and facilitate a transformation for your student. Customize our templates and make them your own. (And let us know what you come up with!)

Steps in the storyboard creation process

  1. Plan the transformation: Your goal, as an educator is getting your students from A to B. Framing out their journey towards mastery will help you fill in the dots in between their current reality (A), to their desired future (B).
  2. Create learning objectives: Understanding specifically what your students will learn in your course, or a video lesson will help ensure you’re hitting the mark. Try framing your thoughts like this: “After watching this training video, my students will be able to ___________”.
  3. Create your storyboard template: Our storyboard templates are a great starting point, but we encourage you to make them your own. It’s a good idea to use landscape mode, number your slides, and mark up any info on the lesson, or module each slide is for. This will help you a lot later on when you’re revisiting your notes, or in production mode
  4. Fill in the blanks: For each slide, duplicate your template and fill in the blanks.
  5. Double Check: Once you’re happy with your storyboard, go back to your learning objectives statement in step two and ask yourself, “will this video teach my students how to ______________?”, and ask yourself why it will work.
  6. Get Feedback: Get feedback from SMEs, students, or your team. Ask them if they think your content will accomplish the learning transformation you set out to create.

What types of storyboards are used in eLearning?

Storyboarding is mostly used in video production, but it can also be used at a higher level to plan your course.

There are three main formats you can use for your storyboard, which we’ll elaborate on with examples:

  1. Visual storyboards: Image-based, to sketch out your scenes and production considerations in a training video.
  2. Written storyboards: Text-based, used to plan simple videos where scenes don’t change much, like a talking-head video … Also can be used to plan your course or a lesson within it.
  3. Instructional design storyboards: Can be visual or written, used to create a high-level outline of your course or a lesson, and the learning journey your students take as they make their way through it.

You can use a combination of these storyboarding techniques to get the job done.

Now let’s dive into each storyboard, with some examples and best practices!

Visual storyboards

This type of storyboard is useful when you’re in the weeds of planning individual training videos for your course.

Visual Storyboards help you visualize the flow of your video using sketches and pictures to give you a sense of how your video will flow before creating it.

Whether you’re creating an animated training video or filming yourself talking, this is valuable because it gives you a chance to adjust your narrative or key learning points before you invest time in shooting and editing. 

The fact that visual storyboards are meant to be rough is a benefit when collaborating with others because at this stage in the process, it’s helpful to get feedback on the content and the story arc. Your choice of colors for clothing, props, or the backdrop doesn’t really matter.

This helps you get context on what’s happening in your video, and how it will look and feel without getting distracted by elements that put polish on the final product.

You can either draw your storyboard by hand or create a digital storyboard on your computer:

  • Thumbnail Storyboards are rough sketches by hand. They’re called thumbnail storyboards because they’re usually no larger than the size of your thumbnail. Print one of our templates, and grab a pencil.
  • Digital Storyboards are digital sketches that are a little cleaner. If you’re not artistically inclined, use a free image site to grab some clip art to work with.

Here’s an example of both storyboards from a visual storyboarding class created by our friends at Techsmith:

Example of a Thumbnail Storyboard sketch.
Thumbnail Storyboard, Image Credits: TechSmith
An example of a Digital Storyboard used for eLearning
Digital Storyboard, Image Credits: TechSmith

Visual storyboarding tips

  • Include additional notes: Also include narration, and production notes, like what text should be on the screen, and how you’re transitioning between scenes.
  • Use a pencil: If you’re storyboarding by hand–as painter Bob Ross put it, you will make some happy little mistakes.
  • Done is better than perfect: You’re not painting the Mona Lisa so don’t worry how rough your storyboard is–do enough to make a plan.

Visual storyboard templates

Simple Visual StoryboardVisual and text storyboard

Copy our eLearning Storyboard Templates

Written storyboards

You can also create a storyboard to plan your course or video using only text.

In video production, this kind of storyboard is helpful if you’re using a very simple video format, like a talking head video, because drawing the same stick figure sitting at a desk six times on a visual storyboard probably won’t add much value.

In course planning, written storyboards are helpful when you’re planning your curriculum or a lesson plan, and need to communicate a lot of information.

Written storyboard template

Here’s a great example of a written storyboard created by Thinkific’s very own Aaron Morin for a training video explaining how to upload content to our course builder:

Example of a written storyboard filled out with example text

Storyboard Templates

Download our eLearning storyboard templates and start planningGet Template

Written storyboard tips

  • Create an outline: An outline can help you plan the sections in your video before you start scripting.
  • Align your narration and visual cues: Keeping your narration and visual cues organized beside each other will help you avoid confusion.
  • Include additional notes: Since you’re not relying on visuals, you’ll want to be extra descriptive to capture what’s happening in your scene and make note of any production considerations.

Instructional design storyboards

In this type of storyboard, you’re jumping out of the weeds to get a birds-eye view of your entire course or a module within it.

These can be used for learning objectives, curriculum development,  lesson plans, learning activities, and you can use a combination of text and images.

Learning objectives storyboard using Bloom’s Taxonomy

You can create a storyboard using Bloom’s Taxonomy verbs to describe what levels are being addressed for just about anything you want to map:

  • learning objectives
  • lessons
  • curriculum mapping
  • synchronous and asynchronous learning
  • group activities that facilitate learning
Example of a storyboard using Bloom’s Taxonomy to help design learning objective for your course, video, or lesson.

Each square represents a level of mastery, where students first need to remember and understand the concept before they’ve mastered it, where they can analyze and create solutions.

Learning objectives storyboarding tips

  • Planning your course: List the lessons and sections that help your students at each stage.
  • Planning your lessons: List the sections within your lesson that touch on each stage.

Not sure which storyboarding method is for you?

Here’s a breakdown of the situations where you can use the storyboards we’ve shared. 

Storyboard typeBest use
Visual storyboardVideo training content that includes multiple visual scenes, environments, or objects to communicate your key points.Examples:Food or baby photographyHands-on techniques like painting or calligraphy Intricate processes best learned visually like rope riggingAny animated or filmed scene, or a video that transitions between film and imagery
Written storyboardTraining content that is cerebral, where a talking head on camera or written materials might be your chosen route to explain complex concepts, or communicate a lot of information, like a course outline.ExamplesLSAT exam preparationPersonal or career developmentFinancial modeling
Course mapping storyboard Any training content that is methodical and requires the student to retain and apply concepts to solve problems. This is a helpful approach for a mixed set of subjects, from hands-on to cerebral content.ExamplesLearning a new languageK-12 or Post SecondarySTEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)

Of course, each method has its own strengths. It often works well to use a combination of each tool depending on what type of lesson formats and components you’re focused on developing at the moment.

What tools can you use to create your eLearning storyboard?

  • Microsoft word (or google docs): Word docs are really easy to work with because most people know how to use them, and they’re portable, meaning it’s easy for you to share them with anyone to get feedback. Word docs are better for written storyboards where you need a lot of information.
  • Powerpoint (or google slides): Another common way to create storyboards is on Powerpoint (or Google Slides). You have less space to work with, but it’s much easier to drag things around and duplicate slides.
  • Miro: If you want to take your storyboarding to the next level, consider using Miro, an online visual collaboration platform.  We LOVE using miro to plan our courses and content at Thinkific. Miro is FREE, and makes it easy to brainstorm or mind map because you have virtually unlimited space to work with–you could have all your storyboards for an entire course or a video series in one place.

To use Miro for storyboarding, set up your free account, create a board, paste an image of one of our storyboards, and start adding sticky notes!

What to do after your storyboard is done

Once you’ve completed your storyboard, here are a few quality assurance measures to top it off:

  • Feedback. Get feedback from team members, subject matter experts, and potential students. Tell them your intent for the learning experience, and ask whether or not your storyboard can accomplish that.
  • Do it again from scratch. Determining whether or not you agree with yourself is a helpful gut check. Sleep on it, and then without cheating, try doing it again from scratch and compare notes. Did anything change?

Curious what comes next after storyboarding in the course creation process? Check out our helpful guide on how to get started creating your online course.


Congratulations! You’ve just taken the first step towards creating more effective educational content. Hopefully, by now you’re armed with the strategy and the templates you need to develop an effective eLearning storyboard.

The next best thing you can do while it’s fresh is to create a copy of our templates and start planning!

Ultimate List of Free Storyboard Templates for eLearning

Summary: Would you be interested for a list of 72update 12/10/2013 Free Storyboards Templates for eLearning? Are you an entry level or an experienced eLearning developer?

Free eLearning Storyboard Templates

Several eLearning professionals expressed a great interest for Free eLearning Storyboard Templates.  At the Ultimate List of Free Storyboard Templates for eLearning you will find 72 Free Storyboards For eLearning.  The most of the free storyboards for eLearning are in word format and some of them in powerpoint.

Support entry level eLearning professionals! I am sure that at the first steps of your career at the eLearning Industry you wanted help from experienced eLearning developers and instructional designers. If you are an experienced eLearning Industry Professional I will highly encourage you to donate your Storyboard Template for eLearning.

Here is the process that you need to follow:

  1. Sent an email at info (at) elearningindustry (dot) com
  2. Subject: Free Storyboard Template
  3. Include a link to your website/blog (all the credit goes to you), and
  4. Do not forget to attache the file!

Your donation will be added at the TOP of the List with a link to your website/blog or professional profile!

72 Free Storyboard Templates for eLearning

  1. Free eLearning Templates for Instructional Designers by eLearnigDom (free membership required – update 01/19/2017)
  2. Free PowerPoint 2007 Storyboard Template by John Curran
  3. The Future Story(board) of PowerPoint by Cliff Atkinson
  4. Articulate Storyboard by Kevin Thorn of NuggetHead Studios
  5. Storyboard Template X by Christopher Pappas – (PPP)
  6. 28 Storyboard Templates by David Becker – (WORD)
  7. Articulate Player Properties by Kevin Thorn of NuggetHead Studios
  8. Visual storyboard in Word by Connie Malamed
  9. Visual storyboard in PowerPoint by Jeffrey Goldman of MinuteBio
  10. Visual storyboard in PowerPoint by Susan Elliot
  11. Visual storyboard in PowerPoint by Sherry Michaels
  12. Visual storyboard in PowerPoint by Praveena Mitran
  13. Visual storyboard in Word with PowerPoint embedded by Phil Havlik
  14. Text storyboard in Word by Sherry Michaels
  15. Text storyboard in Word by Foo Chi-Hian
  16. Text storyboard in Word by PK Prasad
  17. Text storyboard in Word by Helene Caura-Yang
  18. Visual storyboard in PowerPoint by Praveena Mitran
  19. Text storyboard in Word by PK Prasad
  20. Text storyboard in Word by Praveena Mitran
  21. Text storyboard in Word by Praveena Mitran
  22. Rapid Storyboard for PowerPoint by eLearning Art
  23. Storyboard Template by Krishna Kalva (WORD)
  24. B Question Storyboard by Jane E. MacKenzie-Smith – (WORD)
  25. Three-column Storyboard by Jane E. MacKenzie-Smith – (WORD)
  26. Storyboard Template by Mike Palmer – (WORD)
  27. Articulate Slide Properties by Kevin Thorn of NuggetHead Studios
  28. Sample Storyboard About Recording Events in FPE by Rod Ward – (WORD)
  29. BHPB IronOre Storyboard by Rod Ward – (WORD)
  30. BHPB GGP Storyboard Template by Rod Ward – (WORD)
  31. FREE PowerPoint StoryBoard Template by toolbookdeveloper
  32. 15+ eLearning Storyboard Templates by Nicole Legault

Every elearning project needs a plan, and when you create an elearning storyboard, you’re taking that plan to the next level! Although not a requirement for every situation, storyboarding can be an important step in aligning material, stakeholders, and development before the clock starts running on slide building.

In this article, we’ll get you started in the right direction for producing a storyboard that helps you build your next elearning project quickly and efficiently. Let’s start with the what, who, when, where, and why of elearning storyboarding. After that, we’ll take a close look at how to create an elearning storyboard.

Get our free eLearning storyboard template today!
One of the best ways to start storyboarding is to skip the formatting and jump straight into it with a pre-formatted PowerPoint template. Instructions and tips included!Yes! I want the Free eLearning Storyboard Template

Free eLearning Storyboard Template

Storyboards for elearning: The basics you must know

What is an elearning storyboard?

In multimedia fields such as movies, TV, animation, and elearning, a storyboard is a document that provides direction for the development of the desired end result. For example, in elearning, a storyboard provides slide-specific information about things like the graphics that will be used, the voice over and on-screen text, and interactions that may be present.

As the spot where thinking happens before production begins, the storyboard:

  • Lays out the flow and sequence of the program based on a script
  • Shows what will happen slide by slide
  • Provides cues for those who will actually do the production steps

Who produces an elearning storyboard, and who is it for?

Typically, an elearning storyboard is produced by an instructional designer. Though some organizations have instructional designers who exclusively focus on storyboarding, usually the same person (or people) involved in distilling source material into a program script will be tasked with developing the storyboard.

The storyboard serves different audiences. It can be shared with stakeholders, subject matter experts (SME), and others with an interest in the final outcome of the project build. In this case, the storyboard may be used as an approval document or just as a point of discussion to make sure that everyone agrees to the approach.
The storyboard is also important for the people involved with building the program, because — think “blueprint” — it shows exactly how to complete each slide.

When should you produce an elearning storyboard?

A storyboard serves as part of the process to get from the idea of producing an elearning program to the final published and delivered result. It is most often executed early in the project sequence, but after the initial process of researching the topic, distilling subject matter-related source material (and SME inputs) has resulted in an approved script.

Where is an elearning storyboard produced?

This is one of those questions that has to be answered with “It depends.” If you are working alone, you may find that a script with annotations about the on-screen text and the graphics you have in mind will be sufficient to storyboard your program. On the other hand, if you’re working with others to develop the program and specific graphics and interactive elements must be worked out, you may want to develop your storyboard in an app that has strong graphics and text capabilities, such as PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides. If you’re developing the storyboard in one of these slide-based programs, plan on using one storyboard slide per slide in your program.

Sounds like it’s a lot of work! Why create an elearning storyboard?

The best reason to create a storyboard is to ensure that the majority of details about a program have been considered before the time-consuming activity of program building begins. The process of building a storyboard compels a detail-oriented, holistic view of the program that can result in greater consistency across the build. In addition, the storyboard puts all script, design, and mechanical details in one place, giving everyone involved a single document to reference and respond to.

Example slide-based storyboard

eLearning Storyboard Example

To put it simply, an elearning storyboard is a blueprint for program production, integrating the script with descriptions of what will happen on screen. For example, shown left is a storyboard slide created with the free storyboard template we’re offering in this post.

Other storyboard examples

A storyboard can be produced in any tool that works best for you. At right, we show a few examples from around the web.

A – Jackie Van Nice
B –
C – iSpring Solutions
D – Learn2Engage

eLearning Storyboard Samples

How to create and build an elearning storyboard

If you’ve decided (or been asked or told) to create an elearning storyboard, rest assured that the process can be both simple and enjoyable. The trick is to follow a sequence of steps, which we’re going to lay out for you here.

1. Gather project elements.

Your storyboard bridges the gap between the scripting (or words-related) elements of your project and the visual and graphics aspects. As such, it’s a good practice to have both of these in pretty good shape before commencing to storyboard. Ideally the following items will be completed, approved, and ready to work with:

  • A completed script. If your program will have live voice over or text-to-speech, this will be the spoken script. If the program is read-only, the script will be synonymous with the on-screen text.
  • Any must-include material. This could be anything, really, but examples include tables, charts, videos, etc., in addition to any resources that may be attached to the program.
  • A design style guide. Here, you will likely use an existing organizational style guide that specifies colors, fonts, and logo usage. If a style guide isn’t available, create your own — define the color palette, the font (or fonts), and any other on-slide elements.
  • A design prototype. Elearning projects don’t always include a design prototype, but they should! Here, material similar to that which will be in the program is mocked up in the development application. A design prototype typically works out the look and feel of different slide use cases and often results in a full set of master slides to be used in the program.

With all of these things handy, the storyboarding process will proceed more rapidly.

2. Discuss the storyboard with the people who will be using it, and confirm what they need to see to understand the building plan.

A storyboard includes a lot of information, and can be confusing for people unfamiliar with the format, so get everyone on board early! Think about the people such as:

  • Your stakeholders who may need to review and approve your storyboard
  • Your SME(s) who may need to review the words and graphics for accuracy
  • Your builder(s) who need to understand what you have in mind as the end result

Building a storyboard takes time, so make sure that you are creating a rich document that will be useful for those who will be interacting with it.

3. Let people know what a storyboard is for and clearly define what can (and cannot) be revised in your storyboard.

Before launching the storyboarding activity, ensure that everyone understands the purpose of your storyboard and their role in its development. Make sure that you communicate clearly about what can and cannot be changed when anyone takes the time to review or work with the storyboard. This will save people time and reduce the frustration that comes from having made changes to something that shouldn’t have been revised. For example, this might happen when you pass along a storyboard based on a script that’s already been reviewed and approved by your company’s legal department. Make sure that everyone who engages with the storyboard understands that the script is “locked” and not changeable. Similarly, make sure that when the storyboard is delivered to an elearning developer, they clearly understand where they can and cannot deviate from the storyboard as they build the program.

4. Choose (or create) a storyboard template that makes the job easier.

Free eLearning Storyboard Templates

Every elearning project benefits from thinking through the repeatable elements and storyboarding is no different. A good storyboard template lets you quickly specify the key pieces of every slide in a program and it does so by defining the main slide components.

Here is a good place to find some eLearning storyboard templates:

Create Your Own Storyboard Template

For each slide in the project, the same questions are answered. A typical elearning storyboard will prompt you to answer the following types of information for each slide:

Storyboard for Instructional Design

Slide identifiers (1, blue area) – Slide number, program name, and slide title

What the learner sees (2, yellow areas) – Description of visual flow of the slide, on-screen text, description of graphic assets including characters, videos, and other graphic elements

What the learner hears (3, green area) – Voice over script, music, and any other audio that may be present on the slide

User interaction (4, red area) – Description of any interactions that may be present on the slide, navigation-related elements. For quiz questions, include question stem, responses, and feedback for correct and incorrect answers. In addition, include number of tries and any scoring information required.

Additional notes (5, purple area) – Information useful for stakeholders and/or developers – this can be text or graphics, as needed

Note: The free template we’re offering here includes a simply styled standard slide in addition to the form style shown here. Use that style of slide to deliver information in greater detail and refer to it on the main entry for that slide.

5. Complete your storyboard.

Now, pull together all of the pieces, and for each separate slide in your final program, create a storyboard slide. Some storyboard slides will be simple. For example, the storyboard slide for a project section title slide will likely show just the title text and the specified master slide. (A repeatable, easy win!)

On the other hand, some storyboard slides will require more thinking and ingenuity. Maybe you’re including character-based scenarios in your program (which is something that’s recommended by elearning experts, by the way). The storyboard slides for a scenario may require working out what characters will be doing on each of several slides (think: “dress rehearsal” for your scenario slides).

Worried about how much time this will take? Well, in our experience, an understanding that some slides will be quicker to storyboard than others means we can relax when some slides take longer! It’s helpful, too, to remember how much more quickly the actual building of the elearning program will go on account of the many decisions that are made during the storyboarding stage.

6. Review your storyboard and share it with others.

When your storyboard addresses the entire script and incorporates all required graphics, add-ons, and videos, you are almost done. As a last step, review the storyboard and ask yourself questions like these:

  • Are similar project elements always treated consistently? (For example, do all sections begin and end in the same way? Do repeated slides use the same formatting?)
  • Are titling, numbering, and other text-based elements consistent across the program?
  • Have you marked any element that cannot be revised? Or, on the other hand, if your storyboard will continue to be revised, have you marked elements that are not yet settled and require more input?

With all of these steps completed, you’ll be well on your way toward developing a very strong elearning program!

Now it’s time to shave off some time on eLearning development.

eLearning Storyboard FAQs

Is a storyboard required for developing elearning?

There is no requirement or preset format for an elearning storyboard, and many developers work directly from a text-based script to build program slides without the help of a storyboard. Storyboarding does have the advantage of allowing a set of design and visual decisions to be made all at once instead of on a slide-by-slide basis. A storyboard can be a place for trying out ideas more rapidly and efficiently than would be possible in the slide-building environment.

How do you make an elearning storyboard?

The process is straightforward: For each slide in your program, think through what will be present on the slide in terms of script, on-screen text, graphics, audio, and interaction. Capture that thinking either informally or formally using pen and paper, PowerPoint, or another tool that allows you to work quickly with both text and graphics.

How long does it take to make a storyboard for elearning?

It doesn’t have to take log to create a storyboard for elearning if it is just for your own reference as a developer. Simple stick figure sketches will get the job done. If you’re creating a more formal storyboard that will serve as a review document for stakeholders (gotta look good!) or as a guide for another person or team executing the program build, you should plan on spending nearly as much time on the storyboard as you did on the scriptwriting.

What is included in a storyboard?

Since there is no preset format for an elearning storyboard, details about what might be included are pretty open-ended. For some people, simply printing out the script and sketching with some markers creates a document that serves as a guide for building. For others, the storyboard may be a required (or expected) step in the stakeholder review process. In that case, it is helpful to show what will be happening on a slide — the script for the slide, the on-slide text, notes about any user interactions that may be present, and, of course, graphics that show what will appear on the slides.

How can I make sure my storyboard effective?

Interestingly enough, effective storyboards — especially if they will be reviewed by stakeholders — are simple storyboards. Clear visualizations with a minimum of question-raising details will help decision-makers stay focused. For example, a storyboard that says “character may appear in color or grayscale” will be confusing. Instead, make a decision, stick with it, and show only characters that match your choice. In general, effective storyboards are the ones that convey your great ideas for a program and “sell” them a little, too, so make your storyboard a good messenger for your project.

7 Customizable Templates

In the early stages of planning an online course, you might find yourself staring at a blank sheet of paper, scratching your head, wondering where to begin. After all, so many moving pieces go into course design, starting from the very architecture of your lessons to activities and exercises, all the way down to filming your course content.

That’s precisely why many educators use storyboarding to streamline the process. A storyboard can help you plan out your entire course, down to the smallest details, while keeping the big picture and your overarching goals in sight.

We’ve put together 7 customizable eLearning storyboard templates that pull from the most widely acknowledged Instructional Design models. Use them to organize your course planning around proven instructional theories and stay on top of best practices from the very start.

Keep reading to find out which storyboard is the best for your needs and how to use the templates.

What Is Instructional Design Storyboarding?

Instructional Design storyboarding is the process of mapping out the core elements of a course, webinar, or lecture in a process outlined by a specific Instructional Design model. If you’re new to instructional theory, you might be wondering what that means. Let’s get some definitions out of the way.

What Are Instructional Design Models?

Instructional Design models are frameworks developed by psychologists and educational researchers that organize “creating instruction” (e.g., building an eLearning course) into a streamlined process that follows research-based best practices.

By taking the guesswork out of the course design process, Instructional Design models help educators create learning experiences that deliver results. On a high level, this means helping students acquire and retain new knowledge or skills. From a business perspective, the implications of effective learning can include good reviews, returning customers, referrals—and improved bottom-line results.

What Is Storyboarding?

Storyboarding is a planning technique that has its roots in movie production. Originally, storyboards were used to pre-visualize sequences of events in motion pictures and animations. In education, storyboarding helps plan the contents of a course, lesson, lecture, or any kind of learning experience. It can help prioritize information, arrange the elements of a training program into a logical sequence, map out video materials, plan audio narration, and more.

So, summing up, Instructional Design storyboarding relies on Instructional Design models to guide the process of putting together a course or class.

Why Should You Use An Instructional Design Storyboard?

Creating a storyboard may sound like adding an extra step to the course development process. But it’s like using a good project management tool; it will ultimately save you a lot of time and arrive at optimal solutions without the trial-and-error phase.

Relying on an Instructional Design storyboard template will help you:

  • Keep your training focused on research-backed best practices
  • Hit all the important points in your audio and visual materials
  • Simplify production and post-production by lowering the chance that you have to go back and reshoot things
  • Plan exercises, quizzes, and activities that facilitate the retention of new knowledge and skills

How To Use Our Instructional Design Storyboard Templates

Below, you’ll find 7 templates for Instructional Design storyboards.

To use a template, simply print it out. or you can follow these steps to create your own, editable copy:

  1. Open the file in Google Sheets
  2. In the top menu, click “File”
  3. From the drop-down menu, select “Make a copy”

Once you have a printout or digital copy of the template, fill out the empty fields following the prompts in italics.

7 Free Instructional Design Storyboard Templates

1. Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy states that there are 6 consecutive steps to mastering new knowledge or skills:

  1. Remember
  2. Understand
  3. Apply
  4. Analyze
  5. Evaluate
  6. Create

Use this template to:

  • Define the scope of what your students are supposed to remember, understand, etc.
  • Plan activities that will support each step

You can then plan your modules and course materials around these clearly defined learning objectives and exercises.

2. Gagné’s 9 Events Of Instruction

Gagné’s Instructional Design model breaks effective learning into a set of 9 “events” that happen across 3 stages (before, during, and after the delivery of instruction):

  1. Gain the learners’ attention
  2. Tell them what they are going to learn
  3. Stimulate the recall of prior knowledge
  4. Present the instruction
  5. Guided practice
  6. Independent performance
  7. Provide feedback
  8. Assess performance
  9. Extension and transfer

This storyboard template will help you plan talking points, activities, and teaching strategies for each step.


ADDIE is a popular Instructional Design model that outlines 5 steps of Instructional Design:

  1. Analyze
  2. Design
  3. Develop
  4. Implement
  5. Evaluate

This template will help you plan and organize your pre and post-launch tasks within your course development project. It will also remind you to plan for a post-launch analysis and work toward optimizing your eLearning program even after it goes live.

4. SAM

SAM is a simplified version of the ADDIE model of Instructional Design. It names 3 repeating steps to developing a successful training program:

  1. Evaluate
  2. Design
  3. Develop

Use this template to map out the tasks you will need to build your course and continuously refine it.

5. Merrill’s First Principles Of Instruction

Merrill’s First Principles Of Instruction is a model that outlines the 5 universal principles common to all effective Instructional Design models.

The 5 principles of instruction are:

  1. Task/problem-centered
  2. Activation
  3. Demonstration
  4. Application
  5. Integration

Use this template to:

  • Map out the real-world problems and tasks you will base your course around
  • Define how you will tie your course in with your students’ prior knowledge
  • Plan the activities, exercises, and talking points that will support each principle

6. Action Mapping

Action Mapping is a model that breaks down effective training into 4 building blocks:

  1. A measurable business goal
  2. A series of actions required to reach the goal
  3. Practice activities designed to teach students how to perform the actions
  4. Information essential to carry out the activities

Use this template to:

  • Define an overarching goal for your course
  • Plan practice tasks and activities
  • Build scripts for your audio and visual materials around information essential to your goal

7. 70-20-10

The 70-20-10 model of Learning and Development identifies 3 ways in which people learn, and assigns weight to each of them.

According to this model:

  • 70% of knowledge comes from experience, experiment, and reflection
  • 20% of knowledge comes from working with others
  • 10% of knowledge comes from formal, planned learning

Use this template to define objectives and activities relevant to each category.


There you have it: 7 ready-to-use Instructional Design storyboard templates. Use them to create a logically structured and effective online course that will help your students learn new things (and help you grow your eLearning business).

Once you map out your course, easily build and market it with Thinkific. (No tech skills required. Your expertise and storyboards are all you need!)