9 Documents That Employers Want To See In Your ELearning Portfolio

documents-158461_150By now, we have talked about the sources you can use to build your portfolio. Now, let’s talk about different artifacts that should go into the portfolio. Below are some of the most common documents that most employers want to see in portfolios. If you have any other samples worth showcasing, feel free to include them too.

  1. Needs Analysis Document – This document will show your employer that you know how to conduct research and that you are familiar with various methods of gathering data.
  2. Design Document – Being able to create a design document is often a requirement in many organizations. This is the blueprint for both eLearning and face-to-face training. Most employers expect to see at least one design document to get an idea of how you design training exercises. 
  3. Storyboards – Always include at least one storyboard, and whenever possible, consider including different types storyboards. For example, if one of your storyboards was created in Word and another one in PowerPoint, adding both of them to your portfolio will be beneficial.
  4. Facilitator and Participant Guides – Typically, facilitator and participant guides are only necessary for developing face-to-face training and synchronous eLearning courses. However, even if the job you are applying for requires only the development of asynchronous eLearning, including these guides in your portfolio will show your prospective employer that you have a variety of skill s and are able to develop training courses for any mode.
  5. Evaluation – Consider including examples of all four levels of evaluation. If you also have experience creating assessments, try to include some samples as well document corrective feedback you provide to learners based on the response they select.
  6. Documentation or proof of programming, web design or graphic design skills – Nowadays, both instructional designers and eLearning professionals are expected to know and be able to use eLearning development tools as well as graphic design, image manipulation, and video editing tools. Lynda.com offers excellent training courses to help you acquire the needed skills. As you learn the tools and programs, consider creating short samples to display them in the portfolio.
  7. ELearning samples – If possible, includes a range of eLearning samples, and avoid including similar projects. You want to show your prospective employer that you are capable of handling different types of assignments. Including samples of both linear and nonlinear courses would be ideal. Additionally, if you have created games or simulations, consider making them part of your portfolio. The same goes for mobile learning, job aids, or any other materials you may have developed. Remember, more samples equals more experience, and more experience equals more opportunities.
  8. Writing /editing samples –good instructional designers must also be excellent writers and editors. If you have any published articles or papers, consider including them in your portfolio. If you do not have any formal publications, you can include any other writing samples. These can be scripts, unpublished papers, or even related blog posts. If you have edited someone else’s work, it is a good idea to include a sample with your comments as well. If you do not have any writing or editing samples, consider volunteering as a writer/editor, or simply write something you are interested  in or highly opinionated about, and make it part of your portfolio. It is best to include at least two types of professional writing – technical and conversational.
  9. Recommendations/ copies of certificates, endorsements, etc. – As you gain experience through formal work assignments or volunteering, you are also expanding the network of professionals who can offer their recommendation about your knowledge and skills. Whenever possible, ask for a letter of recommendation or endorsement and include them in your portfolio. Do not trash those glowing emails you get from your colleagues or supervisors – they can help you get your next job. It is also recommended to include copies of certificates you earn, and add them as artifacts to your portfolio.

Obviously, there are many other artifacts that may enhance your portfolio. However, including too many of them in your portfolio may overwhelm your prospective employer. The best way to decide what to include and what to exclude is to make a list of all the items you have created as well as all the skills you want to showcase. Then, select your artifacts based on skills you’ve identified.

Avoid adding artifacts without explaining what skill they demonstrate and what thought process you followed to design them. Do not make your descriptions long or overly complicated. Simply adding a couple sentences or short paragraphs will help your prospective employer understand your ideas and instructional approaches. Before including artifacts in your portfolio, always ask for permission. Keep in mind that some projects may be proprietary, especially those done for government clients; therefore, you will not be allowed to display them in your portfolio. However, proprietary projects are not a decent excuse for not having a portfolio at all.  You can always volunteer at organizations that will allow you to use projects in your portfolio. You can also blur out the text, displaying only the design elements, such as the organization of the module. Another alternative is to recreate your proprietary projects using any other content you may know or be interested in.

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