Alrighty folks! Today is the final edition of the How to Build Your E-Learning Portfolio blog series. I’m sad to see it finish, but I’ve been happy to have helped so many of you!
Part 4 is all about actually building out your portfolio and promoting yourself!
Building Out Your Portfolio
For many, building out your portfolio may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be difficult!
You can post samples to dribbble, dropbox, or google drive (if you’re wondering how to share your Storyline samples using Google Drive or Dropbox, I recorded a screencast showing you how to do just that – Click Here). I love sharing knowledge with others, so I incorporated my portfolio into my blog using WordPress (self-hosted); occasionally I do show my work posts, and I have a portfolio section of my website that uses a simple WordPress plugin. It’s also important to invest in yourself, so if you don’t have the time or expertise to easily add portfolio pieces to your website, pay someone who does have the expertise. For example, I spent about 5 hours of my time trying to figure out how to get the ‘simple WordPress plugin’ to work properly and finally conceeded to paying someone to do it for me…it took them half an hour, and only cost 30 dollars. WORTH IT.
- One important thing to note is that you should always ask your clients during the course of the project (or at the end), if you can use a sample from the project in your portfolio. Sometimes they’ll say “sure!”, and you can do what you want. Sometimes they’ll say “sure, but not everything”, and you’ll need to pare things down and have the client review ahead of posting. Sometimes they’ll say “You can’t share the actual project, but you can share a screencast of you walking through the project,” and you can do just that – these situations may crop up if you develop a project that will be resold, and screencast demos are neat because they show the world a behind the scenes peak into your process. Sometimes the client will allow you to include a screenshot or two and specify that a video screencast demo of the project can be made available on request (this occurred with my samples for the YMCA). Whatever your client’s preference, there is usually some way of working a portion of the project into your samples; you just need to think outside of the box.
My current portfolio isn’t fancy, but it does exactly what I need it to do. Clients don’t want to view 500 full courses before deciding they like your work, but they do need to see some representation of your capabilities within the world of e-learning. Every client is different, so it’s important to consider a varied approach to your portfolio. What I mean by this is to include a representative sample of portfolio pieces – several work samples, several personal samples, perhaps some design samples if that’s something you’re good at. Your prospective clients need to believe, from your portfolio or discussions with you, that you are the right person for the job!
Once you have your portfolio built, promote yourself! I’m active in several communities (Freelance to Freedom, Articulate E-Learning Heroes, ATD, and LinkedIn), so I promote myself by participating in those communities; this participation is meant to spread knowledge, and be less overt. Ensure you have completed your profiles for any site you participate in, and include links to your website and social media accounts. Twitter and LinkedIn are the only social media platforms that I really use for business, and most of my promotion comes from retweets, views, or from colleagues sharing my content.
I share my content on social media, but it’s also important to share relevant posts from your colleagues because self-promotion shouldn’t be selfish. You should want to support others who are trying to share information and enhance the knowledge exchange. So promote yourself, but don’t be selfish!
If you can afford or have the opportunity to attend or present at industry conferences, this is a fantastic way to promote yourself and to support others. I love presenting at the Articulate Community Roadshows (I’m presenting at another this June!) and I thoroughly enjoyed presenting at and attending Learning Solutions 2015. Not only can you share your wealth of knowledge with a greater audience, but you can support your colleagues as they do the same. You can network the heck of the events, if you’re into that, but I’m a bit more introverted, so I tend to let folks come to me or reach out to individuals I already know. Ensure you have business cards – I don’t hand out a ton, but they’re available if someone asks. Be ready!
I hope that this series has provided more clarity as to why an e-learning portfolio is so important and how you can easily create one – remember, your portfolio can provide you with the freedom to choose work you’re most passionate about, so make some time, and show yourself off! Please let me know, in the comments or through the Contact page, if you have any outstanding questions, and I will do my very best to answer expediently.