Member Login
BACK TO BLOG

What Should You Include When Building Your Portfolio?

 

Unlock the Episode: Listen and Download the Free MP3 from My Podcast Today!

 


SUMMARY

The importance of a well-crafted portfolio cannot be overstated. Join me as we tackle the intricacies of building a compelling instructional design portfolio, a critical tool that sets you apart in this competitive field.

The Crucial Role of a Portfolio
Reflecting on my own journey in instructional design, I understand the initial confusion many face in building a portfolio and the delayed realization of its significance. A portfolio is not just a collection of work; it is a visual narrative showcasing your abilities, creativity, and expertise. Especially in instructional design, where theories and practices vary, a portfolio becomes a window for potential employers to understand your beliefs and approach.

Challenges in Portfolio Building
One of the significant challenges in building a portfolio is understanding its components. Many, including myself, grapple with identifying what should be included. This is a crucial juncture where guidance can make a significant difference.

Importance of Professionalism
A standout portfolio is not only well-organized but also well-thought-out and professionally designed. Each deliverable should exude quality in materials, appearance, and presentation. It is a testament to your commitment to success and a reflection of your learning and expertise over time.

Learn from Experience
Drawing from personal experience, I share the realization that building a portfolio should begin early in one's instructional design journey. Waiting until the final semester of school, as I did, can be a missed opportunity. Learn from my journey and commit to your success from the outset.

Components of an Instructional Design Portfolio
Your portfolio should encompass various components, including projects you've developed, skills acquired, competencies developed, a personal philosophy of training, a professional resume, and a website or blog. The emphasis is on showcasing your abilities, creativity, and knowledge to potential clients and employers.

Crafting Core Portfolio Pieces
To create a robust portfolio, focus on three core project pieces—a full-functioning online course, a supporting project, and ideally, a paid project. These projects should tell a story of problem-solving through design, showcasing your skills, style, project management abilities, and overall professionalism.

Choosing the Right Hosting Platform
To present your portfolio effectively, consider hosting platforms like Weebly, Google Sites, and Wix. Weebly, with its customizable website elements, is a practical choice. Google Sites offers efficiency but with limited customization, while Wix, though requiring a financial investment, provides unparalleled customization and templates tailored for portfolios.

Building an instructional design portfolio is a transformative journey that requires commitment, strategic planning, and attention to detail. Join me in the upcoming episodes, where we will delve into a step-by-step process for developing a fully functioning online course and supporting projects. Let's turn your portfolio into a compelling testament to your instructional design prowess and embark on a successful career path. Stay tuned for more insights and practical tips on mastering the art of instructional design portfolios.

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES

 

TRANSCRIPT

Hello, and welcome to the eLearning and Instructional Design for Beginners podcast, where new and aspiring instructional designers start, grow, and advance their careers in instructional design and online learning development. I'm your host, Crystal Harper. I'm a former school teacher who transitioned to instructional design, all while working full-time as a single mom. Would you like to become a successful instructional designer without the burden of earning another degree? Well then let's get started.

When I was first learning instructional design like you, I was very confused as to how I should actually build my portfolio. And I also had no idea how important it really was. I really wish I'd known that in the beginning of my instructional design journey. Building a portfolio is great practice for every professional, but it's a must-have in instructional design. A good portfolio can set you apart from the rest of the candidates. Your portfolio needs to be professionally designed and organized and each deliverable needs to be clearly and properly designed prior to presenting it to potential employers or clients.

It should not only be well organized, but well thought out. It needs to be of high quality and professionalism, of materials and appearance, and presentation and performance. Your portfolio should reflect what you've learned over time. It should also reflect and include items that you've created that demonstrate your learning and expertise.

Your portfolio demonstrates your abilities, your creativity, and knowledge for potential employers and clients. Keep this focus as you build each section of your portfolio and as you're continuing with the remaining steps in this process. One of the biggest problems that I first faced when I first got started, and really the biggest problem that I see a lot of other people face when it comes to building their portfolio, is figuring out what components that should be included in the portfolio. When I was first learning instructional design, like you, I was very confused as to how I should actually build my portfolio. And I also had no idea how important it really was. I really wish I would have known that in the beginning. If so, I would have started working on my portfolio from the very beginning.

However, it wasn't until my last semester in school that I actually learned this. But thankfully, the university that I attended provided a course that walked me through building my portfolio. Except, I really wish I had taken it a little earlier than at the very end. What I learned in the course about building my portfolio was so helpful. So that's what I'm going to talk with you about right now. Instructional design is a field rooted in learning theories and instructional models. While institutions and companies often share and practice common theories and models, each has its own mission and expectations that drives its practices and ultimately its choices and staff.

When a hiring committee is considering you as a potential candidate, They will want to know if your beliefs, theories, and practices will support and or enhance their company's environment. By providing potential employers with your portfolio, you offer them a glimpse of who you are, what you've accomplished, and what you believe in as an instructional designer.

Building a portfolio is great practice for every professional to have, no matter what industry you're in, but it's a must-have for instructional designers. A good portfolio can set you apart from the rest of the candidates. Your portfolio should be professionally designed and organized. Each deliverable in your portfolio should be clearly and properly designed prior to presenting it to your potential employers. It should not only be well organized, but well thought out. All of those small steps will add up to huge success. Go ask questions, be engaged in the forums, so that you can get ideas and opinions from other people who are going through similar issues. You do have all the tools that you need to build a successful instructional design portfolio.

You've got to commit to your success and follow a plan. You've got to put your success and your future at the top of the list. It should be ahead of everything. So commit to your success, commit to following the guidelines discussed in this workshop, and I promise you, you will build an amazing instructional design portfolio.

Minimum information as listed on this screen. Should be included in your portfolio. Your portfolio should be of high quality and professionalism of materials and appearance and presentation and performance. Your portfolio should reflect what you've learned over time. It should also reflect and include items that you've created and demonstrate your learning and expertise.

Your portfolio demonstrates your abilities, creativity, and knowledge for potential clients and employers. Keep this focus as you build each section of your portfolio as outlined on the screen. Your portfolio should include projects and products that you developed and you're most proud of, and an employer or client would be interested in seeing your skills.

So common components of your instructional design portfolio includes materials that you've created, including the skills that you've obtained and competencies that you've developed. Your personal philosophy of training, your professional resume that we'll also discuss more about later, your website and or blog, and your philosophy statement.

When you build your portfolio, you need to create at least three solid project pieces. You want your core portfolio pieces to be as polished as possible. Your samples should tell the story of how you've used a variety of ways to solve problems with design. Demonstrating not only your skills, but also your style, your ability to manage projects, and your overall professionalism.

So I recommend including three projects. One, main project that's a full-functioning online course. And then at least one supporting project. And if you can, at least one paid project. The main projects need to show off your understanding of the entire instructional design process. They should demonstrate that you can number one, identify a goal that you can solve with instructional design and number two, use the instructional design process to achieve the goal.

This will be the project that you're most proud of. The one that employers and clients look at and say, wow, we want this person on our team. Following all the steps from start to finish and incorporating as much possible that I discuss here will get you that project. So that's what we're going to be talking about in the next 10 of the 12 steps to becoming an instructional designer.

I'm going to walk you through a step-by-step process for you to develop a full-functioning online course, as well as the supporting projects for your instructional design portfolio. Some hosting sites that I suggest. First, Weebly. Weebly provides fully customizable website themes and elements. And then there's Google Sites.

I liked Google Sites at first. It's really easy to set up efficiently, but it doesn't have as much wiggle room to mess around with. However, I feel like Google Sites hasn't really developed lately, but we'll see. Maybe in the next coming years it'll get better. So if you really want to wow your potential employers or client, I suggest Wix. It might cost you a little more money, but I think it's totally worth it. Wix allows for much more customization and provides templates and that's specifically for portfolios.

JOIN THE

eLearning and Instructional Design for Beginners Community 

  • In-depth courses & training
    Access my rapidly growing library, attend monthly live training & accountability support groups
  • Exclusive tools & members-only discounts

    Tools, templates, downloads, checklists and more - plus receive special perks & discounts

  • Supportive community & network
    Feedback and support from fellow instructional designers, career-driven business owners, and experts who will keep you on track
FIND OUT MORE

Get Your Software Toolkit for Instructional Designers

Tools & processes that will help you plan, build, and grow your instructional design career and freelance business.

5 Steps to Implement Scenario-Based Learning

Top 7 In-Demand Skills of a Successful Instructional Designer

Why You Should Surround Yourself With Successful People

How To Set 90-day Goals For Freelance Instructional Design Success