When most people think of building a portfolio, they automatically assume that they will need to know how to build a website to be able to showcase their work. This sometimes causes a little panic because not everyone knows how to build a website, but fortunately there are other options. In this blog post, I will discuss tips on creating an E-learning Portfolio with Articulate Storyline. (Click HERE to see an example of a portfolio created with Storyline)
Why You Need An E-learning Portfolio
If you have looked at job descriptions for E-learning/Instructional Design jobs lately, then you most likely have come across a portion of the description that said, “You must submit a portfolio of work samples for review to be considered for position“. With large numbers of candidates applying for jobs, hiring managers are relying on portfolios more than ever to be able to find the most qualified candidates. Even if you aren’t currently in the market for a new job, I still highly recommend that you have a portfolio ready because you never know when a great opportunity will arise. Before we get into specifics of using Articulate Storyline to build your portfolio, let’s cover some basic tips that you should keep in mind when planning your portfolio.
Get a Domain Name and Hosting Service
If it is available, I suggest using your name or some form of your name as the URL for your portfolio. For example, if your name is Jessica Alvarez, then JessicaAlvarez.com or JAlvarez.com would be ideal for your professional portfolio. Unfortunately if you have a common name then it is very likely that your name in URL format is already taken. If this is the case, then try to come up with a domain name that still has meaning for you, but is still professional. You can purchase a domain name and hosting service from providers such as GoDaddy and 1and1.com to name a few for a relatively low cost. A domain name will cost anywhere from $10 to $20 a year, while hosting fees will vary depending on the type of package you select. If you are simply hosting your portfolio, then the cheapest hosting packages available will more than suit your needs. (You can also look for free hosting sites, but be prepared for limitations on what you can host, pop-up ads or both.)
Keep It Simple
Your portfolio should be fairly simple. Hiring managers and recruiters look at many portfolios each day, and usually have only a few minutes to devote to each one. Because of this, it’s important to make your site easy to navigate and I recommend only adding relevant info and examples in your portfolio including:
- A Short Bio
- Screen shots of your projects (or even better, links to actual e-learning projects)
- Skills/Experience with a downloadable copy of your resume
- Contact Info
Keep your verbiage brief and concise. This is one situation where I encourage the use of bullet points (as opposed to when you are developing e-learning content).
Examples/Demos Are Important
It is very important that you provide several examples of your work in your portfolio. One dilemma that I find many people run into when gathering content for their portfolios, is that they are unable to use projects that they create at work. This is understandable due to the proprietary content that is most likely present. If this is something you are running into, I have a few suggestions on how you can still come up with examples that you can use:
- Determine if you can “Scrub” your e-learning project to remove any logos, names, or data that might be showing in your project. There are limits to this though, because you may potentially have to scrub so much information out of the project that it may no longer be a great showcase of what you can do.
- Create your own sample course by choosing a simple topic. For example, in this project I created a simple course on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
- Participate in the E-learning Challenges available on the E-learning Forum on Articulate.com. It’s a great way to learn, make new contacts and create content for your portfolio.
Keep Your Portfolio Updated and Leverage LinkedIn
Once your get your portfolio up, it’s important to make sure you keep it updated. Just as you would never submit an outdated resume, you would never want to submit a portfolio for review that hasn’t been updated in several months or years. In addition, your skills grow constantly, so you should make sure they are presented accurately! Also, remember to make sure you add a link to your professional portfolio on your LinkedIn profile (I’m assuming you already have one, if you don’t, I strongly encourage you to create one!).
Creating Your Portfolio With Articulate Storyline
Now that you have an idea of what to include in your portfolio, you can begin creating it in Storyline. Storyline has all of the tools you need to create a great portfolio to showcase all of your work and talent. Below are some suggestions how you can leverage them.
Use Buttons For Navigation
Rather than using the built in Navigation and Player Bar that come with Storyline, use buttons for navigation in your portfolio. This will help to give your portfolio a more polished look, and will also help to prevent your portfolio from looking like a “Course”.
Use Layers to Create a Gallery
A common component of a portfolio is to have a gallery of screen shots in a light box gallery. You can simulate this in Storyline with either a lightbox slide or by using layers. I personally prefer to do this using slide layers since I find that I have more control over the design. I normally use a rectangle shape in my new layer with a dark color set to 40% to dim out the background. You can then use Triggers to toggle the visibility of these layers off and on.
Use Triggers to Launch URLs or Demos
It’s a good idea to use the Jump to URL/File trigger to launch links to files, your LinkedIn profile or other items. You can also use this to launch your E-learning examples. Simply add the URL to your project in the File field in the Trigger Wizard. (Alternatively you can a Web Object if you don’t want to launch new pages.)
Use the Resources Area for Your Resume
Storyline provides you with the ability to attach documents in the Resources section of the player. Take advantage of this feature and use it to attach a copy of your resume or other documents. This will give recruiters and other people who might be interested in hiring you easy access to these files.
As you can see, having a portfolio is extremely important to stay competitive in today’s job market, and fortunately it something that you can easily create for yourself using Storyline and the many features that it includes. I hope you found these tips useful and that it encourages you to take the time to create your own portfolio using Storyline!