What is an eLearning Script?
A movie isn’t created by one person. It sometimes takes tens if not hundreds of roles including director, actors, set builders, editors, cinematographers and more. For a movie to be successful all these players need to be working toward a single vision. In movies, a screenplay is the embodiment of that vision. It includes dialogues, a description of the scene, locations, actions and more.
eLearning production in many ways is like a movie production. There are many roles, including writers, graphic artists, developers, builders, instructional designers, SMEs and other stakeholders. All these roles need to have a shared vision to create an engaging and effective solution. In eLearning production, the script is the embodiment of that vision. It includes screen layout. on-screen text, a description of graphics or media, audio and more.
Templates or No Templates?
Whether to use templates or not has been an ongoing argument in the eLearning world for decades. On one side, people argue that templates limit the creativity of an eLearning script. On the other side, people argue that not using templates creates a UX nightmare. I’m personally on the side of the latter. Templates don’t have to be limiting, instead they provide visual cues to a learner about how to navigate a screen and make sure the user experience doesn’t become confusing and chaotic. Templates, as I’m referring to them, aren’t rigid fill-in-the-box forms but rather general layouts that can be adapted to meet a breadth of needs. Tools like Figma or Balsamiq are great for creating simple, abstracted versions of templates that communicate layout, but don’t confuse people with actual content.
To make this more concrete, here’s a list of some of the most common templates I’ve seen used over my years:
- Full-Screen Graphic or Video
- Text Left / Graphic or Video Right
- Graphic or Video Left / Text Right
- Question Left / Graphic or Video Right
- Graphic or Video Left / Questions Right
- Various Question Types, e.g…
- Fill in the Blank
- Hot Graphic (graphic with clickable spots that reveal text through pop-ups)
- Carousel (series of text and/or graphic elements that you can scroll through)
- Tabbed Screen
- Accordion (List of headers stacked on top of each other that when clicked expand to expose text and / or graphics
Here’s an example of what a Text & Graphic template of an eLearning script might look like:
What Does an eLearning Script Look Like?
If you buy into the idea of templates, then you will want to create an associated script framework to collect inputs for each template you are going to use. Different templates will include different elements. Here’s an example of an input table for the Text & Graphics template above:
Here’s another example for a multiple choice question or MCQ:
And here’s the associated scripting template.
The above examples capture a lot of detail and this is particularly important when you have multiple reviewers and members of the development team. A lot of script templates (examples below) take a much higher-level approach which can work well for a small team or a team that has a lot of experience working together.
Additional Resources from Across the Web:
What do you think? Do you have a great script template you are willing to share? Do you have a different approach all together. Share your thoughts and examples in the comments section!
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