business_man_upset-201x300Reviews are a key part of developing any eLearning. In my experience, they’re also one of the steps that cause the most confusion and delays. Whether you’re working with an outside vendor or someone within your association, clear communication and good documentation can make the process much smoother.

Reviews generally take place at two points, the storyboard and the actual course. Both of these have their own review challenges and best practices.

Reviewing a Storyboard

Storyboards are often made in Word or PowerPoint. They’re blueprints for an eLearning course with explanations of what’s supposed to happen, proposed audio narration, approximately what the screens will look like, etc. They also provide identifying numbers that are used to refer to each individual screen throughout the project. It’s better to make changes and edits at this stage than after a course is built. Here are some best practices.

  • Ask for a walkthrough of how to read the storyboard format
  • Follow any review instructions you’re given
  • Read the programming/ interaction/ animation notes
    • This is an important part of most storyboards, but it is often skipped or misunderstood in reviews
  • Include the reviewer’s name or initials, as well as the date, with each edit or comment
    • Features like track changes often add these automatically
  • Use comment and track changes features, if they’re available
  • If they’re not available, make sure edits are easy to tell apart from the original content
    • Use a different text color, put a big “X” over an image you want deleted, etc.
  • Make sure the edits are clear and actionable
    • “I don’t like this” doesn’t tell the course builder how to fix the problem. It’s better to say what you want instead.
    • If something needs to be discussed in more detail, leave a note asking for a follow up
  • If more than one person is reviewing a storyboard
    • Either have everyone take turns reviewing the same file, so they can see one another’s comments
    • Or, if everyone reviews the file separately, have one person consolidate all of the edits and comments into one file to send back to the course builder
  • Don’t assume the visuals are final unless there’s a statement that says they are
    • Images in storyboards are often “for position only” (FPO). Just because there’s a picture of a smiling customer on the “Sorry, try again” screen doesn’t mean that’s what will be there in the real course. It’s meant to show that there will be a picture of a person in that place.

Reviewing a Course

Once a course is built, you’ll have a chance to go through it and look for typos, things that don’t match the storyboard, anything that seems to be broken, etc. Notes are generally left in a separate file, often called a “punch list.” Many punch lists are set up as spreadsheets. Here are some best practices.

  • Follow any review instructions you’re given
  • Use the punch list the course builder provides, if they provide one
  • If a punch list is not provided, ask the course builder if there’s a certain program or format they’d like you to use
  • Refer to the screen numbers from the storyboard when you list what screen an issue is on
  • Include screen caps that show any big, complex, or unusual problems you find
    • It may be appropriate to include the screen caps separately, depending on the format of the punch list
  • Include which internet browser and operating system you’re using
    • This is very helpful for figuring out whether an issue is specific to a certain system

Reviews help ensure that a course is as good as it can be. Storyboards are for finalizing content, wording, and the presentation approach. Built courses are reviewed to make sure they are high quality and match the storyboards. Have you run into any review roadblocks and how did you overcome them?

If you’d like to learn more about custom eLearning course creation from Digitec Interactive, visit our eLearning page.

If you’d like to read more about instructional design best practices, check out the rest of this author’s blogs.

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