14 Developing a Plan of Attack – Storyboarding or Blueprinting

Architects prepare blueprints before contractors set about building houses or office towers. Engineers prepare schematics before technicians construct complex machinery. The same process holds in eLearning development. As Adeboye (2014) explains, without preparing a map of what an online module should look like, it’s easy to suffer from scope creep (the scope of the project continuously growing because there are now criteria to indicate what needs to be done, and when it is done). It’s also possible for you, as a developer, to get lost and start feeling over your head. Adeboye also describes some of the key components that you should be including in a storyboard for an online teaching module.

Gutierrez (2014) provides some more useful tips on how to get started in her article A Simple Guide to Creating Your First eLearning Storyboard.  More recently, Slade (2019) described The 3 Types of eLearning Storyboards, and provided advice on choosing the right type for your project.

Prepare Your Module Storyboard

Now that you have done your pre-planning and perhaps even created a module outline or syllabus, it’s time to map out what your unit should look like. Prepare a module storyboard that could guide you, or any other content developer, through building the module according to your needs and specifications.

Review Penn State (2016)’s Course Blueprint and Audit Template. Penn State provides downloadable blueprint templates that you can use to complete this part of your Project Plan. Or, you could download one of my Sample Blueprint Templates. Alternatively, you could create your own template or use one from your institution.

Sample Blueprint Templates

A Worked Example

The following is a worked example of a blueprint for one of my graduate-level instructional design for online teaching and learning courses. In this example, created using the Excel-based Canvas Course Blueprint Template, I have completed the details for just one of the six weeks for this (compressed) six-week intersession course (which is what I would ask participants to prepare before starting to develop their ID projects).

Additional Resources

The following video resources provide additional perspectives on the storyboarding or blueprinting process.

Unit Planning: Organizing Course Content (Ascuena, 2011)

Why You Should Start with an eLearning Storyboard (Slade, 2018)

What’s The Story Behind Storyboarding? (InSyncTrainingLLC, 2017)


Activity iconUse the blueprinting or storyboarding template of your choice, or design your own template, to plan the design of your online learning course or module.

Course Participants

Alert!If you are a participant in one of my instructional design courses, please refer to the following for detailed instructions and appropriate templates (if applicable) for official course assignments:


Adeboye, D. (2014, Oct 21). Principles of Storyboarding for e-Learning design. https://youtu.be/l9PZ2bEuKFA

Ascuena, A. (2011, May 4). Unit Planning: Organizing Course Content. https://youtu.be/geEYjQmzAno

Gutierrez, K. (2014, September 25). A Simple Guide to Creating Your First eLearning Storyboard [Web log post]. http://info.shiftelearning.com/blog/a-simple-guide-to-creating-your-first-elearning-storyboardLinks to an external site.

InSyncTrainingLLC (2017, July 20). What’s the Story Behind Storyboarding? https://youtu.be/mvy5bkjPcjk

Penn State. (2016). Course Blueprint and Audit Templatehttp://facdev.e-education.psu.edu/plan/audit

Slade, T. (2019, June 1). The 3 types of eLearning storyboards & when to use them. Tim Sladehttps://timslade.com/blog/types-of-elearning-storyboards/

Slade, T. (2018, August 31). Why You Should Start with an eLearning Storyboard. https://youtu.be/gF-REyym-GU


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