How To Build Your eLearning Portfolio
As an eLearning developer, having a public portfolio is a necessity. A portfolio can change your life. It can land you the job of your dreams, empower you to develop your skills, and it will inspire others. Creating a great portfolio doesn’t need to be a lot "work" or cost tons of money.
Here are a few ways to get started in creating an amazing eLearning portfolio:
1. Variety Is The Spice Of Life
An eLearning developer’s portfolio should focus on more than "traditional" eLearning. Share examples of projects like graphics, UI Design, UX studies, writing examples, screencast tutorials, animated videos, web development, podcast/audio projects, and more. A variety of projects will show your skillset and ability to create different types of experiences.
2. Focus On Snippets
Not every example in your portfolio needs to be a client based or real-world examples. One of the biggest hurdles an eLearning developer has to climb is that of NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements). That means a lot of our work cannot be shared. Some folks choose the route of trying to strip all of the content out but there are other ways around lacking samples to share. Create snippets of video, eLearning, designs, and more that you can share with your portfolio. They don’t have to be full-blown projects, just something to show you have built your skills. Snippets will help to get your foot in the door.
A good example of a snippet is these eLearning Heroes Challenge entries on radial navigation menus in eLearning.
3. Choose A Topic That Interests You
When working on a project for your portfolio, choose a topic that really interests you. You’ll feel way more driven to create learning based on something that you actually want to learn about. I try to make my personal development time fun by playing music I enjoy, treating myself to coffee, and working on projects I choose.
4. Develop In What Interests You
Focus on developing projects that interest you. Is your passion video production? Focus on script writing, shooting video, editing, animation, and more. Work on development for the type of job that you want to be doing.
5. Show Your Personality
Your portfolio is your portfolio, it gives you a chance to stand out and shine. Show a little bit of your personality through branding and speaking in your tone of voice. In my blog, I use animated gifs, bold colors, and emoji. I have sort of a fun and quirky style and I try to get that across through my site.
6. Play Copycat
If you’re stuck on ideas for projects or need inspiration, look around the web for similar projects. Play copycat through recreating User Interface designs, animation styles, or even go through tutorials and add what you create from them to your site (with credits of course).
7. Make Use Of Trials
Creating learning experiences can become expensive. When you know you have some downtime plan out what you are going to create, and then start a trial of the software you need. Also, make use of all of the free and open source tools that are out there.
8. Create A Website
What’s a portfolio without a site where you will be scouted out at? There are tons of tools out there that make it easy to build a portfolio website. One of my current favorites is Webflow because of its modernity and theme options. Ιf you’re going to splurge on anything, you should splurge on a portfolio site.
For more online portfolio creation sites, see these 17 Services for Creating an Online Portfolio Website.
Looking for something a little more technical? Check out Jekyll for building your site and GitHub pages for hosting your site. This has been my go-to for about a year now.
9. Ask For Feedback
Feedback can be really hard to ask for and hard to take but it’s what helps us to grow in our careers when it is applied. Once you have your portfolio site ready to go, ask for feedback. Reach out to colleagues in the field that you admire and ask questions like, "What would you do differently?" and "Is there anything potential employers would be looking for here that I have not included?". Be open to the feedback and adjust your portfolio based on feedback from others.
10. Promote Yourself
Share your work. You are your biggest critic. People love seeing what others are working on even if and especially if, you are a newbie to the field. The more you share to LinkedIn, Twitter, at conferences, and more, the more likely you’ll be to land the job of your dreams. Plus, sharing your work helps you build your skills, inspires others to do the same, and encourages you to keep improving.