Hey there! So, I have been working on a project and it is about to wrap-up. I have the privilege to work with an instructional developer (Andy Lockwood, you should totally look him up in the community) who does amazing things with Lectora tools and a variety of resources.

This particular project, I am especially proud of because the storyboard and end product align perfectly. I started wondering about how other instructional designers begin their work of planning out instruction and deliverables? I use PowerPoint as my "stage". I also do some basic sketching and planning with the tried-and-true, paper and pencil.

What do you do? Any tools or tricks you can share?

Discussion (12)

I use PowerPoint as well. Well, any Microsoft Office program is really game; Word for questionnaires, Excel for test question and answers, and PowerPoint to take advantage of the master template. I've tested out a couple online tools but I haven't found something I love more. I think it's because I was already so familiar with PowerPoint that it seemed like a natural choice. Sharing in case someone else is interested in testing out a new tool:

Lynda is totally worth the subscription. I've taken a bunch of courses on Microsoft products, authoring tools, Instructional Design, Graphic Design and Audio/Video techniques. Each one has left me feeling more confident about what I do on a daily basis. I also love that you can publish your accomplishments to LinkedIn and that a lot of companies recognize the achievement.

If someone where to ask me "what aspect of Excel do you think I should learn first?" my answer is always formatting a table (got to make it look pretty lol) and then Pivot Tables. They changed my life. They can be a little hard to pick up on because there's a lot of logical decisions about your data that you'll need to make but once you get use to them they can be applied in so many situations.

I try to storyboard everything I do. Sometimes it's formal (in PowerPoint, scribbled on a piece of paper, mapped out in Word) and other times it's at least planned out in my head. It depends on how organized I feel I need to be or how confident I am with the subject matter. I find it gives me better focus when I'm creating because I'm not making huge decisions while I work like where I should branch off or if I should include a character on every page. It was also ingrained in my brain because all of my previous employers required a storyboard to be approved so it's partly because it's what I know and what I'm comfortable with. It also works out nicely because you can import it into Lectora and start building without having to put in a whole bunch of tedious pieces.

Even when you're a team of one you're never alone! I don't have much contact with other IDs except on here which is part of the reason why I LOVE this job so much.

Great advice and thank you! Trivantis Community is proving to be a really great social connection hub. I appreciate the space! I agree that storyboarding is important and my training also ingrained that into me. I feel it is just best practices. It does help my brain find that creative flow and keep things organized and balanced.

Hi Jennifer,

I tend to stick with what I know too. PowerPoint is just a tool I know and feel comfortable with and really... it has a lot of beneficial features including the master template. My Kryptonite is Excel, simply because I don't use it enough to know how to work with it. I have considered signing up for a course to get more familiar with it and to force myself to learn to love it :-) Of course, YouTube will have Excel topics to follow, as well.

The resource you shared are rather cool. I love mindmapping software. looks super fun. I'm going to play with it and see how I might be able to use it. Thank you!

Do you Storyboard for all of your projects? I find my process is sort of differentiated depending on how I need to wrap my brain around the project and end-user experiences.

Thank you for engaging in the Forum! It is super awesome being able to talk with other IDers. :-) I'm the only one where I work.


I often start in Word to organize and lay foundation and then I'll move to PowerPoint to mockup some screens. In Word I usually create a 3-column table with columns organized by on-screen, screen-actions, and finally a notes/assessment column.

This has helped me when I'm getting screen shots or images from the business lead or SME, or if I get a PowerPoint with a lot of text to convert to an eLearning module. I find this helps both to brainstorm some potential images to replace wordy text while chunking the text further into something easier to chew on. For screen shots, it helps focus on bit on what screen actions could occur to show steps, make the learner do the step or highlight important areas of the screen.

I'll add in PowerPoint to mock up a screen, especially screens that will have some layers.

I've attached a recent storyboard that began in Word as an example.

Here's a storyboard we created that was a freebie two weeks ago :)

This is a great example. I like this process as well. When I was working on my master's degree in ID, we put together a layout, in this fashion, for our projects. I also use this type of column/rows table format when I do my scope and sequence.

I have not had to take a PowerPoint and turn it into a module. Typically, I have to start from scratch. But, it works well for that also. And, I agree, it is a great way to keep good organization of links, graphics, PDF, etc..

All great suggestions. I too start in either Word or PowerPoint. I have created a template that I use that helps me ask the questions so I do not miss anything. It all comes down to you and your interaction with your SMEs. It is important to ask the right questions - why are you creating the training, what will it fix, etc. I hope this helps.

Thank you, Math! This is great advice. I am just beginning to work with the Lectora platform. I have a lot of experience with using PPT to create storyboards and hadn't really thought about the customization issues that might arise.



I get a lot of storyboards in PPT format. Then part of my work is to convert/import/change that into good Lectora titles. A few small tips and tricks for all Powerpoint-authors, that makes the life of those who have to create the .awt prettier.

- Watch the margins on textblocks. PPT standard adds a big margin on a textblock. You seldom want that in Lectora.

- Do not use transparent gradients in the PPT. The gradients get converted to solid colored blocks, so your designer / developer needs to fix that.

- All graphical formatting has to be possible. Eg. when coloring a bullet some color in PPT...the developer has to recreate that with CSS and Javascript because it aint standard in Lectora.

Best approach would be..get in touch with your developer. Ask him for either a template or sample PPT, in which you can work. That way all ins and outs are setup properly and you can just do your part...



Here's a list of some technical guidelines we provide for supplemental information :)

Nice one Jennifer, definately a must read for anyone delivering Powerpoint to a developer.

Some things should be added though i do think.

- gradients in powerpoint will convert to solid colored shapes in Lectora.

- transparancy in powerpoint objects is lost when converting

( so a white to transparent powerpoint shape overlaying an image in Photoshop will end up in Lectora as an image with a white shape on it )

- resizing/scaling the image in Powerpoint results in the same ( way too big ) image in Lectora.

On the last point... authors tend to import 300dpi print-ready big images into their Powerpoints. Not thinking about size and things like that. When converting that to Lectora and using the shrink-to-Lectora option you are lost about exact sizes, and rescaling and compressing the original image to a proper size is tougher then needed. If the author instead uses a proper setup PPT-template at the correct size, and makes sure his images are used at a 100% ratio...well much easier for the developer..


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