34 Replies
Ashley Chiasson

I agree with everyone here. I mean - to give developers the benefit of the doubt, I'm sure many of those without portfolios are well-qualified and able to do the job, but there are many who, as David says, simply talk the talk. 

I would rather invest in someone when I can SEE what they're capable of doing than taking them at their word, especially when deadlines are involved.

Christy Tucker

I like to see something about why the course was created, what problem was solved, or why they made the choices they did. It can be helpful if they mention what tools they used and their role in the process, if relevant. You can include a storyboard if that's the piece of the process you created, but it's helpful to note that this was passed off to a developer when you were done.

Anything that helps prospective clients or employers see what you think is important about your samples is beneficial. A few sentences is usually enough to get the point across.

Jeffery Goldman

I always want to see a portfolio and I like to ask them about how they designed and developed specific courses. I will usually ask about their approaches to working with SMEs too.

Myself, I always include in my portfolio some sample course design plans (CDP) and storyboards to demonstrate my design process... in addition to the actual course samples.

Steve Flowers

One of the purposes a portfolio will serve is an expression of passion for the work. How much passion can someone have for development if they don't have anything to show off? And this leads to the next question... Why would you hire someone who is only interested in pushing buttons, throwing levers, using cookie cutters, and packing their bag at the end of the shift?

I would never (yes, never) hire someone that couldn't show me what they've done in this or a related line of work. Demonstration of thought process, style, and ability to do the work is a must.  "I can't show what I've done because _____" is a poor excuse. 

What about education? The degree is a tie breaker when I'm a hiring manager. Education doesn't figure into the decision if the applicant doesn't have work to bring to the conversation. For developers (maybe for anyone), education shouldn't be the ticket for entry. A degree can matter. But it shouldn't eliminate candidates that otherwise might be dynamite members of the team.

The demonstration of work is a part of the conversation that I enjoy as an applicant, even if I don't end up getting the job. I can't understand why anyone would apply for a position like this without having some kind of work portfolio.

Tristan Hunt

I am interested to know how people get around non-disclosure agreements?

Recently I have done quite a few jobs "modernising" courses that were created years ago some of the stuff I have built I would really like to show off or include in my portfolio etc but I have signed NDAs for all of this work. Yes I have other great examples in my portfolio but nothing that demonstrates this type of work.

Steve Flowers

I've usually asked if it's OK to show in private company under the provision that it's not presented to someone in a competing industry and branding elements are removed that identify the client (where possible). It never hurts to ask. More than half of the time, the clients that I've asked say that it's OK under these conditions.

In the case where folks say no to a complete demo, I've built generic versions with changed content or small demonstrations of concepts, interactions, or technical assemblies.

Phil Mayor

A portfolio is hugely important but the huge caveat is ensuring that they actually built the examples.  Here on the heroes site there are loads of shared examples i have seen at least two portfolios with versions of my work in them. 

The NDA issue is a good question, I generally ask if I can show examples to individual clients but do not host on my portfolio, often I will send a link to my website along with a few curated examples more relevant to the client.

When I look for people I am much more interested in their portfolio/ability and work ethic rather than their education.

Elizabeth Dennis

Does anyone else find themselves constantly oscillating between examples that are just templates and examples that actually teach something?

I struggle with this decision. Examples that actually teach something show that you know how to create andragogicaly sound elearning content. However, a template allows you the time to focus on the technical and ux aspects of the course. 

What do you think people want to see when reviewing a portfolio?

Greg Morrison

From my experience, since every course is different, I typically use the approach of using my portfolio to exhibit innovative ways/features to convey content, and then I like to discuss how the application of those features will be conducive to learning. In other words, I display my abilities as an E-Learning a la carte so that I can cater to the specific needs of the project at hand.

Jeffery Goldman

I know some people that will create free courses for nonprofits/charities that can't afford to hire a course designer. They do this to build their own portfolio, plus they can give back at the same time - Everyone wins. 

There are also the Articulate challenges, which is a good way to build examples that can be used in a portfolio.

Nick Petch

A strong portfolio is key!

Tip: If they are just entering the industry and don't have a folio yet, set them a task and have them submit that as their folio.

Advice: Look for artists who don't rely on pre-built templates.

Advice: Tools and skills are great ... but these can be taught - what really counts is their attitude towards innovating and learning new skills.   



Natalia Mueller

100% require demos/samples even if they are just links to Dropbox or Google Drive. The caliber of designer I'm interested in would have no issue with that and there are plenty of ways to scrub something proprietary and still give me a feel for the work. 

Personally, I don't mind seeing templates. I'll just be more interested in how it's edited and used to meet the needs of the course design (versus content forced to fit the template).

Kayla Burtch

A portfolio is key. Even if it's full of lorum ipsum to remove proprietary content, or is just screen shots with explanations of the role. Though I also like to see that they make stuff to test out their skills in ADDITION to paid work (so templates, games, and trial-and-error stuff, whether it's e-learning challenges or personal challenges.)

But, I also see a lot of people whose portfolios are full of out of the box solutions they think I won't notice. And even if it looks stellar, it's hard to know if they made it themselves.

So I also usually request a 30-minute to make demo based on my criteria once they've been shortlisted. Depending on the role that usually entails either translating a storyboard into a few slides, or taking example SME content and turning it into a storyboard.