Digital Content

Day 1: Planning, scripting, and storyboarding

Video in Teaching and Learning -Part 2

Written by Sherry Lo and Jill Lyall, ANU Online


Welcome back to Part II of the Video coffee course series. In the post today, we will talk about the pre-production planning before video creation to save you time in the process.

Planning your video makes you consider what student learning outcomes you hope to achieve from the video.  You start to structure your video clip through thinking out objectives, concepts you would like to cover, and a structure for presenting this.  Careful planning can result in quicker video production, with less need to stop and start when filming. This reduces the tedious time spent editing the final clip.

Here is an example of Content Creation Cycle for educational videos. It demonstrates a circular process for you to keep improving video production.

The post from Education Video offers several good points for planning:

  • what content/topics will you cover in your video?
  • what copyright rules do you have to follow?
  • what tone will you use for your video (serious, silly, witty, scary, a combination)?
  • how long will the video be?
  • what footage will you use (live action, screencasting, images, animations, etc.)?
  • where do you plan to shoot the video (office, studio, outdoor)?
  • where are you hosting your video (Blakboard, SeneMA, YouTube)? who do you want to access your video (your class, Senecans, the general public) – this will be discussed in more details in Day 9 of this coffee course.

Part of the planning includes scripting and story boarding. In movie making or professional videos, scripts and storyboards are two separate steps with great details in each. However, for the lecturer-created educational videos, i.e. videos conveying information, there is some overlap of scripting and story boarding. In our post, we will keep them separate but targeted at the level for creating educational videos.

Scripts and storyboards

Thornhill et al (2002, p. 27) offers a good way to determine whether you need a storyboard or a script.

  • What do you want to say? You may need a script.
  • What do you want to show? You may need a storyboard.


Image source: retrieved 1/9/17

“A script is a detailed transcript including additional instructions and timings,”  according to Thornhill et al (2002, p. 27),

As pointed out on Education Video, “while a script isn’t as flashy as the visuals, it’s the gas that will power your video’s audio and visuals. Without a great script, you can’t have a great video.”

There are a number of ways to create scripts. You can have detailed scripts or have just brief talking points or prompt sheet.

In general, the key points in a script include:

  • Hook/Opening – use a short sentence to catch your students’ attention and make it sound as interesting as you can.
  • Intro/Premise – explain the idea you are trying to sell
  • Body – go into the details of the idea
  • Question/Call to action – ask the students to think of the answer or perform certain actions
  • Close – Summarise the key point and tie back to the premise

Other tips to keep in mind are:

  • Limit to one or two key ideas per video – easier for students to review and access later.
  • Write conversationally – write it like you are explaining it to your friend. Aim to write for the ear, not for the eye.
  • Use simple words – if you need to use jargon, consider adding text to the video during the editing phase.
  • Rehearse before filming – practice by reading the script out loud. This will help you to identify if it sounds natural or if the point is clear. This will be covered more in Day 8 of this coffee course.

Here is a video about how to write a speech outline. I find many relevant points can be applied to making educational videos.

How to write a speech outline (2min 33sec)

This video talks more on business videos but it has lots of good points, which can apply to educational videos. Please note there is no endorsement for any paid service mentioned in this video.

How I Create My Training Videos & Presentations (5min 15sec)

Sample script/storyboard 

Here are a few templates that you can use to script or adapt as a storyboard:

Making storyboards

A storyboard is a sequence of sketches with text descriptions showing the layout of each shot (Thornhill et al 2002). A storyboard is a tool for helping you craft your objectives, concepts and structure into a coherent video clip that has a beginning, middle and end, and is logical and easy to follow.  In addition, your storyboard can become a template for future productions, with small adjustments to suit the purpose.  A storyboard helps you visualise your material on a screen over time.  There are numerous tools and techniques for creating storyboarding.  You can simply work on whiteboard or butchers paper to set out the conceptual material you wish to cover – starting with a mind map, for example.  You can then progress to envisage how this will translate to a screen over time, possibly using squares to jot some main points, diagrams and even stick figures to represent segments of the video.

Storyboard is useful when you have different scenes or shots in a video. For educational videos, you may not have many different shots or the need to zoom in or out. If you are using a mix of screen capture and talking head or other video clips, storyboard will help you organise when to switch to what screen. If you are working with a group, it will also help you to explain what you intend to produce and to get others on the same page.

One of the most commonly used tools for storyboarding is PowerPoint.  PowerPoint is already set up to provide separate windows for different concepts, where you an add text, images and shapes to work out your concepts.  It also have a number of different views that can be useful for visualising.

Padlet is an example of an online brainstorming tool that could be used for storyboarding.  It would be particularly useful if you are collaborating in a group to create you storyboard.

Activity: Share your script or storyboard for a video you’d like to create on this Padlet.


Join us for a face-to-face session

Friday, 8 September, 12-1pm, Chancelry Building #10, 10 East Road – meet in the Lobby

We invite you to a hands-on session where you can learn more about and practise presenting on camera in the SCAPA Professional Media Studio.  Jamie Kidston from SCAPA will also be on hand to share his tips. Please RSVP to: if you are able to attend. View the campus map for directions.


References and additional resources:  

Thornhill, S., Asensio, M., & Young, C. (2002). “Video Streaming: a guide for educational development.” Available at:  

How to write an awesome video script in 8 steps

The easy guide to writing a great explainer video script


16 thoughts on “Day 1: Planning, scripting, and storyboarding

  1. The script outline will be useful. to me. I found “padlet” a little unhelpful — is it just another document sharing tool? — looks a lot like “trello”. I did not bother to log in so that my be my undoing… In any case “collaboration” is not a key need for me — I am looking for all the hints I can get to develop the most effective on-line videos at least cost (i.e time — perfection is not a goal) — educational bang for buck!

    P.S I found both the videos helpful — but again that level of production quality and collaboration in the second video is probably more than I can use. I can see the benefit of the script –sespcecially that tabular one with the prduction ideas in there too — but a full “storyboard” may be an investment too far for me.

    P.P.S. On this question: ” where are you hosting your video (Blakboard, SeneMA, YouTube)? who do you want to access your video (your class, Senecans, the general public) – this will be discussed in more details in Day 9 of this coffee course.” I hope hosting on Wattle for enrolled students could be specifically addressed, please.

    1. Hi Kerry, thanks for your comments. I use Padlet in my teaching/training as a space for people to collaborate “live”, kind of like an interactive whiteboard. In this case, we’re using it a bit more so you can see each other’s storyboards. 🙂 You shouldn’t need to login for the Padlet – try this link here. if you want to share any examples you have.

      Depending on the the type of video you are making, a script might be all you need! I tend to not need to make storyboards for the types I do, usually talking heads or things like that.

      To answer your final question – we usually recommend that videos be put somewhere other than directly into a Wattle site, as it will load easier and roll-over into new courses more effectively. That topic is coming up in Day 4!

  2. Hi everyone, this has been a really interesting and informative start to the week.
    Before today’s session, I could not have explained the difference between a script and storyboard but I now understand why mastering both is a necessary foundation to a ‘good’ video. I especially loved Jake Kilroy’s ‘The easy guide to writing a great explainer video script’ [and the other links within it]. The way he has used, albeit, others’ videos, to demonstrate the points he his making worked powerfully for me, especially in context with the other information embedded in today’s session.
    The Padlet site looks interesting but I don’t yet understand how it is more helpful in brainstorming for storyboarding than, for instance, Evernote, Powerpoint, or any other document-sharing site. Maybe it is just another option/tool!
    I’m not teaching at present and don’t have a storyboard to display yet. But I’m now prompted to think how I might develop a storyboard for an introduction, to a group activity I led recently, into a brief video for the participants to view, at their convenience before another, similiar group activity. I could include the video as part of their pre-reading material, and for the benefit of those who do not do the pre-reading, I could use the video, at the group-activity too, to complement a ‘live’ introduction next time. Good food-for-thought – thank you!

    1. Hi Catherine,

      Using a Padlet is just another tool that you can use for brainstorming and could be an easy way to get others to contribute ideas if you are working on a group project. I think the key is to use whatever tool is easy and quick for you to use.

    2. Thanks Catherine! No worries if you’re not ready to share anything yet – hopefully this post gave you some suggestions on how to get started with building future videos! We’d love to see one towards the end of the course. 🙂

  3. What I hoped for was software which would help with more phases of the video production. What I imagined was that I would input the script and the software would estimate the timing from that, provide titles slides and a teleprompter, then a rough cut of the video. Doing this all manually is a very time consuming process.

    1. Hi Tom and Chris – to be honest I have not found software that meets your need in that way. I haven’t seen something that is a “one-stop shop” for video production. This might sound funny, but in some ways I think PowerPoint might get the closest to doing all the steps! For example, you can build the PowerPoint slides (video content), write the notes (teleprompter/script), and then record yourself narrating the slides.

    2. Thank you for your comment Tom. I can’t think of an all-in-one software off the top of my head (if anyone knows one please share!) but I’m wondering if you have ever used PowToon? It has a simple, basic storyboarding function that can then be animated. You can add a voiceover on top of the audio as well so that could be an option. Let me know what you think. Thank you again – Rebecca

    3. CELTX was recommended in a short video course I did recently:
      I haven’t used it myself yet, so I’m not sure how much might be automatic and/or linked to the scriptwriting part, but there is a limited free version and free mobile apps (with in-app purchases) that might help you decide if it can do what you need. CELTX also has tools for collaboration, but that might only be available with higher level the paid subscriptions. This post on their blog might give you an idea of the storyboarding features:

  4. I’m not on campus at the moment, and using my (Mac) laptop to access padlet didn’t work very well at all. It kept giving me lots of negative messages and the end result was unreadable. Entirely possible it was my fault, of course! I guess I should have used something other than safari? What Tom’s talking about sounds pretty impressive — is there anything that does this?

    1. HI Chris, sorry to hear you were having trouble with the Padlet – try this link instead: It should just show a screen with all the contributed scripts and storyboards on it. Let me know if that is better, but it should work in Safari. I responded to Tom’s comment above if that is helpful? Unfortunately as far as I know there is no “silver bullet” type software that does everything, which is a shame.

  5. Hi everyone,
    I think the biggest takeaway for me, like Catherine, so far is the distinction between scripting and storyboarding. I have been given some feedback from colleagues as part of a project that I would benefit from storyboarding so this is a perfect introductory course for me. Up till now I haven’t know where to begin, so thanks Coffee Course gurus for getting me started!
    Having said that my Padlet upload is a simple script rather than storyboarding.

  6. Hi all,
    My small amount of experience in creating videos involved PowerPoint animations that I drew, combined with voice-over recorded with free video-capture software. I uploaded the videos to a blog of mine. The script was definitely the most important part! I had to make sure that my explanation captured all the details of the animation. I kept having to add details or change the order of the explanations, so I ended up rewriting it several times. I also had to synchronize the speech with the steps of the animation; I did so by marking a large asterisk in each part of the script that corresponded to a slide transition. While recording, each time I arrived at an asterisk, I clicked on the PPT to advance the animation. You can have a look to see the result here:

    I also created a video about creating videos using free software. The video is several years old, and some of the free software doesn’t exist anymore, but the video still shows what you can do with different tools. Notice how the sound changes from one portion to the next. Unfortunately, the video ends quite abruptly. If I had known more about the aesthetics of video-making, I would have made the ending differently. Now… Sit back, relax, and enjoy the video!

    If you want to look at some instructional videos about making instructional videos, you might want to explore the work of Anna Sabramowicz, an instructional designer working in British Columbia, Canada:

  7. Thanks for providing the sample scripts – I quickly took a check list I was working on and added the bits and pieces from your sample. I liked how one of the sample videos made above used GoAnimate then went to Powtoon.
    Today I learned that if creating something in a mashup that we need to check Copyright with our image supplier – we use
    Good selection of resources today.

  8. Like many of the others, I hadn’t previously separated scripts and storylines in my head. Doing so, however, makes absolute sense. It provides a nice working environment for designing a video, in particular where you have a number of different types of components. It was useful to see that different types of storylines/scripts have different applications, I also enjoyed the videos of the processes undertaken by different people in designing video presentations.

  9. Thank you for the tips on creating a video script. One of the reasons for using PPT with my videos previously was to create an outline to frame the content, which I found useful but it was initially difficult to know how to start etc. So the key points and guides have been useful. I have recently also discovered Microsoft 365 Video app which will be a useful home for videos that are created. I am considering how this might also be used for student learning/peer review.

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