storyboardsThe first time I worked with a storyboard template it was numbered 100, 200, 300, and so on. I did what I thought was the helpful thing and renumbered the storyboards to 1, 2, 3, and so on. I now understand why that was a mistake. Granted, there’s more than one way to effectively number storyboards, but I want to share a few tips and considerations.

What Are Storyboard Numbers?

They’re essentially the eLearning equivalent of page numbers in a storyboard. A storyboard is the blue print document that’s followed to create eLearning.

Why Number Storyboards at All?

In short, it’s for ongoing identification purposes. If you’re already working in a program, like PowerPoint, that automatically assigns slide or screen numbers it might seem like manually numbering the storyboards isn’t necessary. But it is. Because if you move, add, or delete a slide or screen in those programs everything gets renumbered automatically. So, those comments you got back about “slide 6” might actually be talking about “the old slide 6.” And then you need to dig back into old files and it’s a time consuming mess. A storyboard number is a bit like a social security number. It identifies that one storyboard no matter what happens to it.

Why Shouldn’t I Number Them 1, 2, 3, etc.?

Because you’ll end up having to create odd new numbers if you need to add additional storyboards. If you’re asked to add a new one between “1” and “2” you’d probably end up with something like “1.5.” Overall, it’s easier to skip a few numbers between storyboards and then assign them to any new additions. Need to add a new storyboard between “10” and “20”? No problem, just call it “15.”

If I Move or Remove a Storyboard Should I Renumber Them?

No. If the numbering is out of order or there’s a gap that’s telling you something. In these cases it’s either, “something was moved” or “something was removed.” That’s a great short hand note for later reference. And remember, storyboard numbers are like social security numbers. They’re unique to each individual storyboard. If you change them that defeats the purpose of having them.

What if There’s Not Enough Room for Everything?

Sometimes you need to make multiple storyboards to show the animations, click-to-reveals, or other aspects of a single screen. In those cases, it’s easy to add a little something extra at the end of the storyboard numbers. That might be a letter or a decimal. For example, if storyboard “30” is the first of three storyboards that show click-to-reveal information that’s all intended to be on the same screen you could have “30,” “30a,” and “30b.” That way they’re clearly connected, but still have their own unique identifiers.

What if the Course Has More Than One Part?

Use a multi-part storyboard numbering system. If there are going to be multiple modules or lessons in the course you could have a module/lesson number followed by the individual storyboard’s number. For example, “1-10” could be the first storyboard of the first module/lesson and “2-10” could be the first storyboard of the second one. That’ll also help you remember where you are in the big scheme of things just by glancing at the numbering.

Storyboard numbers are a great way to identify individual storyboards. They can also be used to track changes over time and show the relationships between different storyboards. Just remember to keep the numbers the same, because renumbering defeats the whole point of having them.


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

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