If you don’t have an e-portfolio, put that on your bucket list for 2018. An e-portfolio is an online presence (blog or website) that displays samples of your work. I am generally surprised that most instructional designers do not have online portfolios. However, I have never met a very good instructional designer that did not have one.
If an instructional designer is capable of designing and developing a complete learning experience and demonstrates that in their portfolio, they are demonstrating knowledge of the full learning cycle and showing proof of skills. Click To Tweet There are many companies that hire graphic designers to create online training, only later to recall the training because it is not developed to standards. That means the training does not holdup in arbitration when trying to fire an employee–especially if the union is involved. Therefore, your work should be appealing and systematically designed.
Most hiring managers look for the following required samples: 1. elearning 2. instructor led 3. storyboard 4. handout 5. Microsoft PowerPoint slides 6. videos or scripts. 7. infographic 8. research 9. brochures and 10. publications or articles. Extra preferred skills but may not be required: gamification, simulation, and animation. Some of your samples may overlap in skillset. For example, an infographic, brochure, and handout can become one document or sample. If you do not have all of the items mention, it is ok. As you develop professionally, you will swap out samples. According to many professionals, five samples is sufficient.
Below, I listed a few instructional designer’s e-portfolios for inspiration, a simple criteria for an e-portfolio, and free hosting platforms that offer free subdomains and claim “no ads” to get you started.
Sample Portfolios – each portfolio has a different objective: student, speaker, and specialists.
Connie Fiskejon http://corinnehandy.weebly.com/
Tim Slade https://timslade.com/portfolio/
Christy Tucker Portfolio https://www.syniadlearning.com/portfolio/
Angela Clark, MEd, http://etrainingcafe.net/
Jeff Lofting http://portfolio.jefflofting.com/#splash
- First your portfolio should be in line with your professional goals and personal brand or business model. Write a mission statement or objective for your professional job search. Are you wanting to be a speaker, project manager, e-developer, compliance or special education instructional designer? The answer to this question will determine how your portfolio will look and the samples you choose to put in it. If you have a website or blog, link them together. I bill myself as Instructional Writer(s). http://instructionalwriters.com/
- Your next portfolio goal is to show designed learning in a variety of formats. These samples help students or employees overcome a deficiency in their job skills or knowledge. Your objectives for each sample should be carefully written. Do your samples teach what you promised to teach? Do you have any storyboards, workbooks, courses, gamification, instructor led, infographics, handouts with phone numbers and addresses? Do you have any social media webinars? These are great for developing salespersons that are always on the go and can access the courses from their cell phone 24/7. Take screenshots and link them to a live sample. The screenshots may be enough but live samples are clear and give creditability. Some employers demand live samples. Five samples total are acceptable for a portfolio. The remainder samples you can show in interviews.
- Your portfolio should show that you know how to select appropriate images and videos for a global audience. Any good art work that you create and photos that you take yourself are good samples. If they are not very good, use professional images but be careful to observe copyright laws. Here is a popular article that I wrote that lists links to sites that give away free images for personal and commercial work. http://www.etrainingcafe.com/15-top-free-photo-sites-commerical-and-personal-use/
- Create a couple of PowerPoint slides for presentations. Many people complain about PowerPoint slides but they are here to stay because in a pinch they get the job done.
- Do you have any research or evaluations samples? Remember to have references of images, videos, pictures, and documents properly cited.
- Assessments are essential to include in your portfolio. Never develop a test question with the answer in the question. That is a very common error people make in developing assessments. Show you know the rules with your sample. Create an assessment with branching if possible. Observation checklists, rubrics and answer sheets are good samples. Testing learners is important because the data allows you to measure competencies by quanitative (numerical scores), or qualitative means (observation). You will have the data from testing to analyze for measured results.
- Describe each piece by the problem it solved and technology used. Sometimes the problem to be solved can be in the title, “Diagnostic Quiz for Diabetes”. You want to keep descriptions short. What standards or technology did you incorporate?
- Assessibility is the goal of all learning materials. Create accessible elearning by creating a text script of the course deliverable in a pdf file. Click To TweetJAWS is a popular software for disabled persons that utilizes pdf files. Add captions and Alt tags to all images and videos. Pay attention to colors and link colors. Did you know according to Albany-Ward’s Group that the number of colorblind people in the world is the size of the US population? That is about 320 million people. Color blind (color vision deficiency) people normally have problems seeing the colors red, green and blue. However, some people are not “totally color blind” and see some colors in shades.
- Create a link to your portfolio and put it on your resume, contact cards and social media profiles. It is understandable if you are working full time for a company and don’t want your portfolio visible to everyone. Use Drop Box links to send your samples to select persons. You can add a password and limit how many times that person can access your portfolio. In any event, your portfolio should always be ready to send out on the fly.
- Make sure your contact information is up to date and posted with the best times to contact you. Are you looking for opportunities? Always.
In conclusion, your eportfolio should be in line with your professional goals. Samples should strive to be accessible by all learners and should demonstrate your knowledge of the full learning cycle by showing proof of skills in a variety of formats.
The following web hosting companies listed below offer forever free webhosting with lots of storage and easy web site builders specific for portfolios. These builders can get your portfolio up within a couple of hours. It’s ok if you work on your portfolio a little at a time. Just work on it.
The companies below advantage over other hosting companies, in addition to offering free web hosting, is that they offer you free private email with a private domain name. Many hosting companies sell private email separately for a monthly fee. If you decide to take your portfolio down later, you can sell the domain name and make your money back.
Keywords: portfolio, eportfolio, instructional designer’s portfolio, professional portfolios.