DeBorah Little: These storyboards—is this a tool that you take in when you make a pitch to try to sell a service?
Tiffany Koszalka (~6 min): Absolutely. Even when I have worked internally, and my job was training manager, instructional design, or director of whatever. In a business it’s different: you do training, you take people off the job, they’re not productive. So training is always looked down as an expense. However, hopefully after training you’re gonna get that money back and more. But we’re always taking storyboards in to convince the CFO or the president that they needed to make an investment in the training. And the more realistic you could show them what was going on, the better they’d be able to understand what was going on, ‘cause they didn’t know anything about training. Nobody does. So you’re telling them: ‘This is what I can do.’ That’s where you pull the stuff together. When you take a course in needs assessment, that tells you what the gap is, right? We don’t create training just to create it. We create it to fit the job. So now you can say—just like what we did in IDE631—here’s the gap and here’s what we wanna do to start to close that gap in terms of training. The storyboard is a visual that makes it very simple (if you create them well enough) that shows your client—whether it’s externally or internally—‘Here’s what I think the problem is, here’s what we can do to begin to close that gap.’ So these tool that you guys are playing with in these courses are things that, at least in my experience (I’m doing this for over 30 years now), I’ve used out in the real world. It’s not just for classwork that we actually do this, this is what we do.
So, your question is “Would a storyboard be something that you can take out and sell your product?” In a form, yes. But it has to look good and it has to be very clear. And you have to have that argument. You have to go to somebody who knows that they have a problem, or really doesn’t know what the problem is, or has a different idea about the problem. I ran into that all the time in training. “I want training because our numbers are down and they need sales training because they are not selling enough product.” Well, rarely if you have a sales force is the selling issue related to the experience of the sales people if you have a good salesforce. They know how to sell. There’s something else going on there. People aren’t buying it either ‘cause it’s a bad product. Now, you hear that story if you’re a good salesman, you could sell anything to anybody. Well, no, not if it’s a bad product. You can get around it, you can do it for a while, but it’s not gonna go further than probably you want to.
But when we go in, what we’re selling is solutions to performance gaps. And performance gaps are based on knowledge, skills, or attitude deficiencies. Because that’s what instruction does. The advantage that you have is that you develop them around something where you have some level of expertise. What you need to do with your client is you need to convince them that you have that expertise and the problem that they have is related to something that you can solve: “And here’s my solution.” So that’s what this becomes. Whether you’re selling for money or as part of your job, you say, “This is what we need to do”—it doesn’t matter. The storyboard is a communication vehicle. That’s where you have to put your thinking as an instructional design person and someone who understands learning better and you make it into some sort of document that can really help communicate your thinking and your expertise out to someone who’s looking to solve the problem.
From an entrepreneurial spirit, I am in conversations with a couple of different groups right now who are saying, “You know what? Now that we know what instructional design is all about, we need groups of people who are instructional designers to come and help us solve these problems, but we’re not exactly sure what a goal yet.” So, I’m meeting tomorrow with a nursing school and I take storyboards with me. I say, “Here’s what we can do.” Because they can see it and start to understand. It’s like, “Oh.. OH! That’s what you wanna do!” So they get the [???] with it, because it relates to things that they already do—they’re nursing educators—but they don’t do it consistently or in a way that necessarily is going to be really-really effective in terms of whatever their new goals are. So, storyboards are wonderful tools. To think that they were never invented for instruction, they were invented for the movie industry, but we’re really good at taking other people’s tools and using them to support our work.