Beginner looking for some advice on creating a demo project

Hi, everyone. I am looking into becoming an instructional designer and I have some questions, especially about creating a demo with Storyline. My situation is this:

Currently, I'm not an instructional designer (and I haven't tried Storyline yet). However, I've worked professionally as a writer in the past: I was a copywriter at an ad agency and I even wrote for half of a season on a television show. Those jobs were long ago, though — I haven't worked for a while due to some health issues — but I'm now trying to get back into the workplace and I'd like to find a job that involves writing.

I've been networking and I met someone (a friend of a friend) who works for a Fortune 500 company developing their training materials. When I first talked to him, it sounded like he might have some work for me right away. He recommended I read Michael Allen's book Guide to E-Learning, which I did; I found the book very interesting and enlightening. But when I got back in touch with him, after I'd read Michael Allen's book, he told me he didn't have any work for me right now. He suggested, though, that I create a demo project using Storyline and then he could get me in touch with some contractors who place instructional designers.

I'm now trying to figure out what to do. My main concern is that I can't afford to buy Storyline right now. I'm thinking of downloading the trial but I don't know if 30 days is long enough for me to make a demo project that will impress anyone, especially since I haven't used Storyline before and I'm sure there is a learning curve for beginners. Plus, I've never created an e-learning project of any kind and I'm sure there is a general learning curve for that as well.

I have used other authoring tools in the past, though: I made an interactive website using Flash back in 1999, and I've made simple, interactive HTML5 content using some applications for Macintosh computers.

Consequently, I have some questions:

• Is 30 days a reasonable amount of time for a beginner to create a project with Storyline?

• Does anyone have any suggestions on what should be included, and what should be ignored, in a demo project?

• Does anyone have other suggestions on tackling a demo project?

• Lastly, here is the link to my Flash site from 1999: http://www.mirskt.com/. At the time, I was trying to create interactive humor with Flash that loaded quickly on a dial-up connection, which it did. I'm trying to find out if the site is useful as ancillary content when trying to get work as an instructional designer — I'm thinking it could be a companion to my demo project. I wasn't able to get a straight answer from the guy at the Fortune 500 company.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to your replies.

D. Mirsky

2 Replies
Jackie Van Nice

Hi D!

For outstanding ideas for quick demos I'd check out the wide variety of challenges that David Anderson issues each Friday. You can see what the challenges are (they never close - you can always put in an entry, too), you can see the demos people entered in response to the challenge, and you can absolutely get ideas and inspiration for demos you'd like to do yourself.

I've put most of mine right into my portfolio. They get a lot of attention from people who want to offer me work because they're quick, concise, and show that I know Storyline. Lots of other people use their challenge entries in their portfolios, too. If it were me, I'd plot out some demos I'd like to create, download SL for a month, and build 'em.

Here's where David posts the challenges: http://community.articulate.com/blogs/david/default.aspx

Here are my challenge entries: http://www.jackievannice.com/?page_id=175061258

Best of luck to you, D!

Jackie

Matthew Guyan

Hi D,

I agree with Jackie, David's weekly challenges are a teriffic way to develop and practice your skills. I've only done a few of them myself but they are a fun way to learn more about eLearning design and they help me to be more creative.

You can always go back and try some of the earlier challenges too. Even if you can't participate you can see what others have done and get some inspiration. There are some very talented community members who are here to offer suport and advice.

Cheers,

Matt