Are you prepared for when that opportunity comes into your path, offering a chance at a fantastic project that could elevate you to the next level in your ISD career?  If a potential client came calling tomorrow, would you have your best work ready to showcase? If not, read on.

Why a Portfolio?

  1. To prove you have experience
  2. To sell yourself
  3. To showcase your talents and value
  4. To stand out from the competition

What to Present in a Portfolio?

Your best work. Period.

Here’s the caveat, though: you must honor the privacy of your clients. Before adding their projects into your portfolio, seek the written permission of their legal department. If you can’t obtain their permission, consider creating projects on your own to add to your portfolio.

What is the Best Portfolio Format?

Online and Paper versions both have advantages. Online allows for easy sharing, easy access, and easy correction in a cost effective manner. Paper-based portfolios have tangible, sensory value and are great for face-to-face interviews.

How to Organize a Portfolio

Leigh Anne Lankford, an Instructional Design Consultant, summed up her recommendations in her article, ISD Professionals – Building a Portfolio. She suggested these effective methods to organize a portfolio:

  • Place projects in chronological order.
  • Use the ADDIE Model to organize projects.
  • Organize projects according to the ASTD Competency Model.

Regardless of which organizational method you use to showcase your portfolio, the most important thing to keep in mind is to make it clean and clear of errors, and present only your best work. Seeking the advice and objectivity of someone unbiased can prove extremely helpful, as well. Encourage critical feedback from this person.

What to Include in Your Portfolio?

Think of a portfolio as a snapshot of your skills. It’s your chance to get in front of a prospective client and wow them with your ability. Place yourself in the shoes of the prospective client. What do they want to see? What would win over their confidence? What skill sets are critical to their project? Be sure your portfolio addresses these questions.

In her article, Lankford drafted a comprehensive list of items to consider:

  • One sample of High Level Design.
  • One Storyboard if you design for eLearning.
  • One Facilitator Guide sample.
  • One Participant Guide.
  • Content areas samples that showcase your expertise.
  • Evaluations you’ve created and their related feedback.
  • Recommendations and glowing reviews.

At UMBC, students admitted to the Master’s degree in Instructional Systems Development – Training Systems, are required to complete a professional portfolio. This requirement replaced the current comprehensive exam requirement in 2012.

Dr. Greg Williams, UMBC’s ISD Graduate Program Director, stated, “The purpose of this new requirement is to provide students an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned in their coursework and the program. It also provides students, employers, clients, colleagues, etc. with tangible evidence of our graduates’ knowledge, skill, abilities and competencies. Portfolios can be a wonderful career tool that may assist graduates in getting jobs, promotions, new clients, and other professional opportunities.”

UMBC offers students a course called Portfolio Development & Talent Management

Did we miss something critical that you’ve included in your portfolio? Please share in the comments below.

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now
www.umbc.edu/isd

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