TGIF: Ah, We’re Changing the Course’s Title…

While Storyboarding in PowerPoint, I Got the Call

When I’m developing an e-learning course in a PowerPoint-based tool, like Articulate Presenter, I obviously create the storyboards in PowerPoint (PPT) most of the time. Most of my SMEs use PPT at work anyway, so they’re comfortable with it. In Notes View, the upper section of the page shows my mock-up or rough sketch of the screens, and the Notes Pane below contains my notes about the OSDs (on-screen directions), programing notes, course content, and audio/visual ideas.

My gratitude for the Master Slide feature in PowerPoint knows no bounds! This post is about a 127-slide storyboard for an e-learning course on a 401(k) plan, for a non-linear course where learners can choose the topics they want to review. And, once viewing the selected topic, the learners go through branching scenarios in a non-linear fashion.

The PPT storyboard successfully completed two review cycles! Then, one day, about a week or so before launch on the enterprise LMS, I got the SME phone call:

“Ah, we’re changing the title of the course…. ”

From: [ ACME’s Retirement Plans ]

To: [ ACME’s ACRONYM 401(k) Plan ]

Because I had built the storyboard/course on PPT’s Master Slides, I could keep my cool and calmly tell the SME

“No problem! That’s an easy fix.”

With the course background and main title on the storyboard’s Master Slide, I only needed to change the title one time, and that change was applied to all 127 slides.

Okay, I can hear you now:

“That’s a no brainer!”, you cry out. “We all know about that. It’s old news.”

I’m a Mentor, You’re a Mentor….Wouldn’t You Like to Be a Mentor, Too?

True, the above is a no brainer perhaps, but not everyone thinks about using the Master Slides, especially SMEs. I often mentor SMEs in rapid e-learning course design and development. I tell them that it really pays to think through, plan, and try to capture everything needed (requirements) at the very beginning of a project.

During the A-Analysis phase of ADDIE, the SMEs need to thoroughly brainstorm not only the course content and outcomes, but how they will use their design and development tools such as PPT. And, that’s where you and I, as Learning Consultants, come in as mentors.

As a mentor, that Analysis phase includes sharing with my SMEs the PPT storyboard tips-and-tricks that keep the project on time and within budget. This is important because many times SMEs will throw a PPT slide deck at e-learning designers and developers and say,

“Make this an online course. I need it in a month.”

When we all mentor our SMEs on how to effectively and efficiently use PPT as a tool, we can all relax a little bit more during Alpha and Beta review cycles.

If you have your favorite PPT tips-and-tricks, please share them in your Comment on this post! Or, tweet them to me on

@jenisecook  on

The mentor role ensures that I’m “Always Learning”, and that I pass on lessons learned to my SMEs.