The 3 Documents Critical To Your Online Training Development

The 3 Documents Critical To Your Online Training Development

Much as we’d like it to happen, good online training doesn’’t appear out of thin air. It involves a sufficient amount of planning from start to finish. During the development of an online training course, there are three crucial documents that will help you to clarify your objectives and help to streamline the development process.

Three Important Pieces

The three main documents that you’ll need to complete your online training development process are:

  1. Instructional Design Document (IDD)
  2. StoryBoard Document (SBD)
  3. Visual Design Document (VDD)

The Instructional Design Document is the foundational component in the development of the content and exercises within the StoryBoard Document. With all the content set in the storyboard, the Visual Design Document contains the graphical mockup and media elements of each screen in the course.

Once these three design documents have been completed, only then should the actual build and publication process of the course be started. By completing these documents in order, you’ll reduce both the total course development time and production costs.

Let’s have a closer look at what each of the three stages of the development process accomplishes.

Instructional Design

Instructional Design is the practice of creating or adapting learning programs to maximize the effectiveness, efficiency and appeal of the content. The goal of instructional design is to develop instructionally sound learning solutions for a specific curriculum or course.

The Instructional Design Process has four main development phases:

  1. Knowledge Capture

    Gather together all your course learning material and content and give it to your custom online training developer (also called knowledge acquisition).

  2. Learning Object (LO) Development

    Refine your content into small, self-contained units of learning. Each LO is centered around one main point you want users to know.

  3. Organize the Course Construct

    All Learning Objects are ordered into a logical, understandable sequence for each module/chapter so that it fits the online learning style.

  4. Test Question Development

    Test questions are developed based on each Learning Object to show that the user has learned the material.

Generally, the development of the Instructional Design Document is the most time consuming phase and can represent upwards of 40% of the total elearning development time.


The Storyboard Design Process has three development phases:

  1. Develop Initial Theme

    A couple of different themed content screens to show different looks for the course are created. The basis for the theme is derived from the information in the Instructional Design Document. Once the theme has been approved, this becomes the basis for the design of the storyboard.

  2. Content Storyboard

    The Instructional Design Document is converted into a Storyboard Document with information, format and exercises being assigned. At this point, the content in the course is finalized, leaving only the media concepts to be determined depending on time, effort and budget.

  3. Develop Concepts for Media Assets

    All of the concepts for each media asset (image suggestions, audio suggestions, video suggestions, animation/special effect suggestions) will then need to be developed. Based on these suggestions, you will know which of the learning objects will require additional media assets to be built.

Visual Design

The Visual Design Process has two development phases:

  1. Design all Screens

    A graphic designer will create all the screens from the completed storyboard based on the approved initial theme. This is normally done in a graphics program unless the course is utilizing a pre-created template.

  2. Finalize all Media Assets

    Once the visual design is created, all assets are finalized to determine what additional media are needed for the storyboard (video, audio, images, etc.) and who will provide the assets.

While the tendency may be to jump into design process a very solid instructional design document must be in place before you move forward. Once all of the three documents have been approved, only then should the build and publishing begin. You’ll save yourself time and money. If you’ would like to know more about how to create great elearning, download our free ebook Learn How To Creat Performance Based Elearning.

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