How Can I Get Back into eLearning with Major PowerPoint Skills and Some eLearning Experience?

Dec 12, 2015


I've been working as a PowerPoint designer for over 15 years, and have done some eLearning in the past. I want to go back into it full time but I'm not sure where to start. I have advanced PowerPoint skills, and have worked with Adobe Presenter, Adobe Captivate, Articulate Studio, Camtasia, and am now learning Storyline.  I'm also doing online tutorials to make sure I'm up to date with those skills.  I was chosen for my past eLearning contracts because of my PowerPoint skills, which I used in conjunction with Presenter.

I have two questions: first, are there any jobs I could do at the moment based on my skillset, which is more production-oriented? Second, what do I need to fill in the gaps? I've been reading all the wonderful resources here and need to know what else I can do to be ready to work as an eLearning professional or Instructional Designer. I know there's a lot more to it than just design, so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

5 Replies
Christy Tucker

I don't see any samples of your work or a link to a portfolio in your profile. Many employers evaluate candidates based on your portfolio, so if you don't have one, that's a good place to start.

Do you just want to work in e-learning production and development, or do you actually want to do the writing and analysis that would also be included in an instructional design role? It's OK if you're really a visual and multimedia person. If you are, you can focus on development roles. Those tend to be in companies that are big enough to have people specialize in either the writing or development, rather than having a 1-person shop that does everything. That includes companies that just create e-learning for other companies. It sounds like you could probably do that kind of work already.

If you want to expand your skills to more analysis and writing rather than just production, I recommend reading Cammy Bean's The Accidental Instructional Designer and Julie Dirksen's Design for How People Learn. There are tons of other useful books out there, but those two are a good place to start.

Jeri Taylor

Thanks Christy! This is very helpful, and good to know I can focus on production since that's my passion and forte. I'd like to eventually do more analysis and writing but I really enjoying designing the graphics for courses, and I love working in PowerPoint.

I do have an online portfolio, but it's all PowerPoint - would that be enough to show a hiring manager? I do have some e-learning modules but they're a few years old. Do you think doing a demo would be a good idea? If I do some of the e-learning challenges, would those be appropriate to show?

I'll definitely read the books you recommended. Even if I'm focusing on design, that will give me a better insight into designing for e-learning.

Thanks again!



Christy Tucker

If you're specifically looking at visuals for learning, check out Connie Malamed's Visual Design Solutions too. Many of the underlying graphic design principles may be familiar to you, but the examples show how to apply those ideas in learning.

I have one sample in my portfolio that's over 10 years old. I updated it to match more of my current skills and style, but I don't think having things that are a few years old is necessarily a deal breaker. If it doesn't demonstrate your current skills I'd leave it out, but if it's a good example you could include it.

A short demo or something from the weekly challenges sounds like a great addition. The PowerPoint samples are OK, but you need to overly show potential employers that you'll be able to transfer those skills to e-learning. You and I both know that those visual skills overlap, but you need to connect the dots for employers.

Bob S

Hi Jeri,

Christy is spot on regarding your portfolio.  The advice I often give is to not overthink it so much and just dive right in....  You may not realize you have the skills needed right now!

So don't worry about where to start, and just go ahead and start with something silly even.  Try creating a short modulette on how to teach your dog to surf or the proper way to leave snacks for reindeer.  The point is to just do it.

Try this and you'll see the stress melt away and how quickly you start having fun (and being more creative!) when you take the pressure off and create something silly. I've hired several ID's and/or Developers in the past based in part on their silly projects.

Good luck and welcome back to the fold. :)

Jeri Taylor

Thanks Bob! This is really encouraging, and great advice. I feel like I have some of the skills I need, but then get overwhelmed looking at the job descriptions out there and getting discouraged because I can't do it all. I'll take your advice and concentrate on what I do best, and just start creating - I agree once you take the pressure off, that's when you do your best work.


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