Three professors* at universities in Taiwan presented their research on cognitive style- and gender-based differences in word and image idea associations. This subject may sound arcane, but their purpose was to improve design students' storyboarding for animation through associating word and image ideas.
I won't discuss the entire article, but the most helpful section for instructional designers was the authors' method of helping students generate better ideas. One of their research questions was “Can more ideation elements within words and images help stimulate novice learners generate more good ideas?” (2014, p. 460). To test this question, the participants were given 90 minutes to complete a design process. In the first 20 minutes, they were to write down words related to the subject “hand.” These words could be descriptive objects, feelings or concepts. For the remaining time, the participants were to create a complete short story consisting of 10 scenes on a storyboard, using the words to assist them. They were then scored on having good idea words and images.
The results are outside the scope of instructional design, but the process is not. Rather than diving right into storyboarding, we were advised by our instructor to create and outline, building it out section by section, a process I think will serve us well in thinking about the actual content rather than worrying about the details of the storyboard. But I think it may be helpful to take about 20 minutes before even starting the outline to jot down some words that express what we want to convey to the learners in our project. Brainstorming usually produces a superior project, and this type of brainstorming for storyboarding with intentionality will produce a more meaningful result in the end for the learners.
Let me know if you try it out!
*Teng, P.-S., Cai, D., & Yu, T.-K. (2014). The relationship between individual characteristics and ideation behavior: An empirical study of storyboards. International Journal of Technology & Design Education (24), 459–471. This article was retrieved from the university library's website.