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D4L Technologies Module

Technological Tools for Teaching

Screencasting Instructions - Planning, Scripting and Storyboarding

Tips & Resources for Creating Effective Screencasts

1 Planning, Scripting, and Sometimes Storyboarding

What's Involved in Planning and Scripting? 

Your screencast is like any instructional session. You must first decide on the goals and objectives or outcomes that you want to accomplish with your screencast. This is part of the planning process. Developing measurable outcomes was discussed in the foundation module. Ask yourself "What do you want your learners to know or be able to do as a result of watching your screencast?" Identifying your desired outcomes will help you map out what you'll cover in your screencast. 

Then, start scripting or at least develop a bulleted outline for your onscreen narration. Why should you script it out? Try winging it one time and you will understand why it's important! You will want to keep your screencast concise and not rambling. Scripting will help. If you’re collaborating, type it up on your Google Drive so that you and your colleagues can access it from anywhere. Once you have the narration, you can wordsmith it to make it just right. Scripting things out also insures that you will cover all your defined learning outcomes! 

Next, think about your visuals. This is where storyboarding comes in and is especially helpful for larger e-learning projects or when you need to get reviewers to sign off or provide feedback on the design and development of the screencast. A storyboard is a document that shows the video, audio, and text elements of your screencast. Some storyboards also indicate where there are interaction points or places where the learner is expected to respond. Powerpoint is one easy option for creating storyboards. You can use the notes feature of PowerPoint and create the visual in the frame above and type the audio in the notes section. There are also numerous storyboard templates available online. 

Some screencast tutorials may not require that you plan out visuals. This is the case when you are teaching your learners how to use a Web 2.0 tool or a specific piece of software, for example. You simply walk them through each step as you are recording your computer screen.  

Key Points 

  • Planning involves establishing the learning outcomes for your screencast. 
  • Scripting is a good way to make sure you address all the learning outcomes.
  • Some projects may require storyboarding, especially when reviewers are involved in development.

Additional Resources

There are a number of tools for planning and storyboarding that you can can use. Here are links to several:

  1. If you want to rough out your ideas on paper, this tool is a handy one for setting the parameters of what you want your storyboard to look like:
  2. Want to get an idea of the variety of storyboard templates you could use? Visit this link:


Chunk Your Screencasts

2 Chunk Your Screencasts

What is Chunking?

Chunking is an important instructional design strategy that can be applied to producing screencasts and is especially effective if you are presenting complex topics or procedures. Chunking refers to the breaking down of content into bite-sized chunks. Be cautious of creating a 20 or 30 minute tutorial when it could be more appealing and effective to create several shorter screencasts that focus on just one or two aspects of the larger topic or procedure. 

Instructional designers often use this strategy to manage information overload. As a society, we are simply bombarded with information and sometimes this bombardment interferes with our ability to process all of it. Chunking helps with information processing. Cognitive Load Theory holds that instruction is more effective when instructors are cognizant of the limitations of working memory and use strategies like chunking to minimize the load.

Chunking is also a motivational strategy in disguise! Learners will maintain greater attention to content when they feel they can easily process what they are learning. This also builds confidence which we know also relates to learner motivation. Chunking serves as a logical way to organize knowledge, both for learners and online teachers.

Finally, as an online instructor, you may find that by chunking the content into several short screencasts, you will have an easier time making changes should you find the need to make revisions at a later date.  

Key Points 

  • Chunking is an instructional design strategy for breaking content into smaller, more digestible pieces.
  • Chunking helps learners process information more readily.
  • Chunking may impact learner motivation because it helps to maintain attention and build confidence.

Additional Resources

You may be interested in reading more about the effectiveness of chunking as a design strategy:

  1. Research into Cognitive Load Theory and Instructional Design at UNSW (1998)
  2. Chunking Information for Instructional Design by Connie Malamed 
This project is administered by the South Central Regional Library Council with funding from the Institue for Museum and Library Services.