There is no one-size-fits-all instructional design portfolio. Each one of us must find and showcase our personal direction.
Instructional designers have many job titles. One person may specialize in webinars or classroom training; another may design complex labs with interactive chat sessions. Some may specialize in needs analysis, adult learning theory, evaluation techniques or blended learning strategies. Others may dive deep into videos, podcasts, e-learning courses, mobile applications or games.
Start your portfolio research by first determining your direction. It is an easy temptation to build a portfolio from what is convenient, easy to find or easy to recreate from our corporate work. However, your portfolio is more than a sample of past work.
Your portfolio is showcasing your direction for your future. So where are you going?
Start by doing some reflection on where you have been. Reflect on your current state and past experiences. Dust off the old resume. Jot notes about your success and failure stories in each job.
Expand your thoughts beyond what you do for money. Think about volunteer work or learning experiences, like recent college work, webinars or workshops.
As you reflect, answer these three questions:
- What do you enjoy about your instructional design work?
- What would you like to do less of or stop doing entirely?
- What kind of culture or environment suits you best?
My Personal Example
Throughout this blog, I’ll share with you many of my own examples to help you kick start your quest. Here is what I came up when I ran through this exercise.
What do you enjoy about your instructional design work?
- challenges of converting complex concepts to business language
- technical writing
- visualization of concepts, being creative
- Camtasia, Visio, PowerPoint, SnagIt, and other visualization tools
- elearning, videos, online collaboration, and other forms of blended learning
- building collaborative communities
- leadership topics plus change management
What would you like to do less of or stop doing entirely?
- constant business travel, being a road warrior
- rigid work schedules that leave no room for doctor appointments or illness
- delivering training in person in a classroom
- delivering speeches in person to large groups
- selling my work for profit before delivering it
What kind of culture or environment suits you best?
- working in technology – software development, reporting and engineering topics
- the pressure and excitement of working in a competitive market
- a company that adapts and changes frequently to meet the needs of their customers
- being on the cutting edge of technology, new products, change
- working with the nerds, systems engineers plus software developers
- a large degree of responsibility and autonomy