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July 2020
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TD Magazine

Visualize L&D Projects

Use storyboarding to plan before starting a project.

In "Storyboarding: The Power of Planning," Martha Stott writes, "Every talent development professional who is developing a visual learning product—such as a video tutorial, short animation or motion graphic, interactive media sequence, e-learning module, or virtual reality learning event—needs to know how to create a storyboard." A storyboard helps organize your thinking as you develop a story. To get started, use tried-and-true L&D principles.

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Know your audience. Understanding your learners helps determine the starting point of a project and its length. Should the video begin with the basics, or do learners already have a foundation with the topic? If you don't know, you run the risk of frustrating learners or boring them. Either way, you'll lose their attention.

Further, how will employees access content—a laptop, phone, or smartwatch? That will affect the way you design the visual learning product.

Know the learning objective. Using the 5 Whys technique, in which you drill down to determine the root cause of a learning challenge, will help you design your storyboard. Why are learners not behaving the way leaders want them to? Is it because they don't know how, they don't have managerial support, or the organizational culture does not encourage the behavior? Focus on what employees really need to be able to do.

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Know when the project is due. Work backward from the due date to develop a timeline for your project, keeping in mind that stakeholders and subject matter experts may not understand storyboards. Build in buffer time, especially when you begin to collaborate with others.

These tips were adapted from the July 2020 issue of TD at Work. Learn more at td.org/TDatWork.

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About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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