How To Build An Instructional Design Portfolio
There's no rule that says you should have a carefully crafted Instructional Design portfolio on-hand when trying to find eLearning jobs. However, as the saying goes, “you only get one chance to make a first impression”, and properly showing off your talents, skills, and experience with an online portfolio gives you the opportunity to prove that you have what it takes to create winning eLearning courses. Here are a few key Instructional Design portfolio tips that you may want to keep in mind.
- Focus on specific professional skills.
While all of your skills are important, given that they have been accumulated through years of experience, there are only a handful that you'll want to focus on when choosing work samples for your online portfolio. Include work examples that highlight a wide range of eLearning course designs and layouts. This will give you the opportunity to show clients or employers that you can adapt to different learning approaches and integrate a variety of learning activities and graphic design elements to immerse and engage your audiences. In addition, employers will want to see strong writing skills when they're perusing your online portfolio. Grammar, punctuation, and carefully crafted content are essential. As such, you'll want to choose work samples that show off top notch content and highlights the subject matter effectively. While the content of an eLearning course may be a key concern, the visual design is just as important. When clients and potential employers are examining your online portfolio, they'll want to see that you have a keen eye for aesthetic appeal, and that you are using relevant, relatable, and engaging images and graphics in your eLearning courses.
- Pair each eLearning project with a description.
Every eLearning project that you include in your instructional design portfolio should include an explanation of the resources you used (the budget, tools available, etc), how long it took you to complete it, the goals/objectives that you successfully achieved and how you achieved them. Also, let them know why you've included this work sample, and the eLearning design and development strategy you followed while working on the project. Also, keep in mind that employers and clients, ultimately, want to see that you are a leader. You don't necessarily have to have a wealth of past eLearning project management experience, but you should be able to convey that you know how to work well in a team setting, complete projects on time, and effectively work with the resources you've been given.
- Diversity is key!
If all of the samples you've chosen are in the same niche and have the same approach, then you'll want to consider mixing things up a bit. Include case studies or samples that offer a different angle of your skills, talents, and experience, even if it's just a brief eLearning module. Showing them that you can work with a diverse range of subject matters and technologies is significant. Mentioning that you are familiar with eLearning authoring tools and emerging Learning Management Systems is one thing, but showing that you can actually put those to good use when creating an eLearning deliverable is another. So, you need to include work samples that showcase your tech skills and prove your knowledge in practice.
- Add a personal touch.
While your instructional design portfolio should always be professional and polished, you'll also want to include personal touches throughout. Including a bio in your online portfolio, will allow employers or clients to get a better idea of your character, personality, and past experiences that might be assets when working on the eLearning project. For example, if you haven't dealt with a specific subject matter before, but you are familiar with similar topics via hobbies or personal interests, then this might be enough to put you a cut above the competition. Given them a glimpse of who you are, as a person, as they will be more willing to hire you if they know that you'll be a personable and friendly addition to their team.
- Keep the design simple.
It may be tempting to include an abundance of graphics, elegant fonts, and other visual design elements into your online portfolio, but it's best to keep things simple and to the point. Ideally, your case studies, work samples, and professional qualifications should be the star of the show, and the visual design shouldn't steal the spotlight away from what truly matters. This doesn't imply that the design of your online portfolio doesn't matter, as you will want to ensure that it's organized, easy to navigate, and accurately reflects your image. Avoid over-the-top graphics and try to create an online space that is welcoming, professional, and polished. Also, in terms of the size of your online portfolio, keep it as minimal as possible. A few work samples, a short bio, and a contact page are sufficient.
Use these instructional design portfolio tips to offer clients and employers a glimpse of what you can bring to the table. While your online portfolio may be a work in progress, if you build a solid foundation now, you can save yourself a significant amount of time and effort when it's time to add new experiences and projects to your list of successes.
Also, in the article 6 Tips To Create An Instructional Design Cover Letter you'll find a variety of tips and tricks on how to create a winning Instructional Design Cover Letter that will put you a cut above the competition.
In addition, getting into instructional design is a very desirable career choice at present, and so many people want to get into it but are often not sure where to start. I highly encourage you to read the articles How To Get A Job As An Instructional Designer and the Top 10 Instructional Designer Skills.
Last but not least, creating a polished instructional design portfolio is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to building your online presence. The article 5 Tips On How eLearning Professionals Can Create an Effective Online Presence offers tips on how you can develop an effective online presence that helps you to keep your online reputation in good standing.