Anyone who has ever searched for an Instructional Design job or sought new clients is likely familiar with the need and benefit of having a strong portfolio. And understandably, starting a portfolio may prove especially daunting to new designers, so below are some suggestions for where to find inspiration and other resources.
A bulk of my first portfolio featured products from assignments I was given in my graduate program. If you are in currently enrolled in school (or part of a certification training), consider showcasing both your design work and documented reports (project plans, documented needs analysis, etc.).
Course Authoring Company Challenges
Follow any/all companies that offer a course authoring challenge or contest to practice design and hone your skill. You don’t have to use THEIR solution (assuming the challenge is not specific to their solution and its features).
Showcase a Course Function or Learner Activity
Focus your instructions on HOW content is presented to include transitions, animations, click-to-reveal/hide, etc. to demonstrate how you scaffold information using design. For presentation, I look to web elements for inspiration and W3Schools is an excellent resource! Some examples include:
- Navigation [Menu]
- Pagination or Carousel/Slideshow
Alternatively, you can focus on specific learning activities and interactions such as hotspot, assessments, drag-n-drop, interactive video, augmented reality, virtual reality, etc.
Taking available content from various sources with the intent to transform it into a course can serve as a more dynamic source of inspiration! This isn’t limited to instructional content, such as a PowerPoint turned eLearn, but presentation content meant to inform audiences. For readily available content, I seek:
- Whitepapers, [government] reports, and case studies (typically just a few pages),
- Infographics (I search infographic data bases and Google images),
- Product/Service Info Sheets
- Various Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Niche/Industry Forums
- Topics from open learning or paid platforms (i.e. MOOC.org, Skillshare, Udemy, etc.)
- Ted Talks
Suggestions for how to approach starting an instructional portfolio.
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