These days it isn’t enough to have a well written resume with pertinent work experience. You need to be able to prove, in some tangible way, that you can do exactly what your resume says you can do.
According to Tom Kuhlmann at the Rapid eLearning blog, a portfolio allows you to be flexible so that you can answer the door of opportunity when someone knocks on it. Therefore, if you are an instructional designer (contract or permanent, doesn’t matter) you need to have a portfolio to document your skills.
In this series of posts, I will be documenting my own portfolio development. Use it as a guide to either create your own or as a measuring stick against your own ePortfolio.
The first step in developing an ePortfolio is realizing that you actually need one. If you’ve made it this far through the post then you’ve already completed step 1. On to the rest of the portfolio development process:
2. Decide which skills you want to showcase.
3. Gather the “artifacts” that display those skills.
4. Decide on the content management system (CMS) that you are going to use. You may already have an idea for this (which is fine) but I’ll go into more details about where to put your portfolio and why in a later post.
5. Develop your CMS and dump your artifacts into it.
6. Market your portfolio as an extension of your resume.
Let’s talk about step 2, “decide which skills you want to showcase.” Tom Kuhlmann, in his fabulous post on ePortfolios, lists six skills that should be included:
- instructional design
- graphic design
- diverse projects
- project management
Kent State University has a similar set of requirements for students applying to its School of Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences:
- instructional design
- web design and development
- visual design
I don’t think that these all need to be separate categories within your portfolio. For example, you could easily incorporate technology, diverse projects and instructional design into one section under the heading of “Instructional Design.”
I would also add in social media, although that might fall under technology. Social media covers a wide variety of technology and communication that can be incorporated into learning design. You may already use these within course development, i.e. blogs, wikis, Ning.
Don’t take the above lists as the absolute end all of lists. If you have mad skills in web design, dedicate a section to. Or, if Flash is your thing, make sure to showcase those skills. The point is that as elearning professionals we are by default a well rounded bunch. That means that we have a wide set of skills that other professions cannot boast of having. Use that to your advantage.
For my portfolio, I’ve decided on the following categories and sub categories:
- Interactivities – linear, scenario
- ISD process – case studies, work flow chart, gant chart
- Design – web, graphic
- Writing – blog, tutorials & how to
You’ll notice that my list doesn’t reflect Tom’s or Kent State’s exactly. That’s because I took those lists as general suggestions and used them to play to my strengths as a designer.
As a final thought on this part of the process, make sure that your skills reflect what companies are looking for. If you find that you have a particular skill set that needs work, that’s good. It means that you have identified an area of learning (remember, we’re lifelong learners!) and that you can make improvements in that area.
So, until next time, I leave you with your Tutorial Activity and one step closer to getting that ePortfolio completed.
In a post to your blog, develop a list of categories and sub categories that you can use in your portfolio. Send me a link so that I can post it here for further discussion!