Looking for training materials to build a portfolio

May 23, 2017

I'm currently taking an e-learning certification course and I am required to write some papers on the e-learning program I plan to design. The issue is that I have never worked in a training role, so I don't really know what kind of training to create or what resources to use to create a training program. I have done online courses for elementary/middle school subjects, but I would like to branch out into some corporate/non-profit/government training and build up my portfolio in that respect, but don't know where to start. Does anyone have any suggestions or training materials that could be used/converted into an e-learning format? 

11 Replies
Christy Tucker

I've heard this question enough times that I posted a list of ideas on my blog. All of these are topics you might know enough about to create content on your own or could research online fairly easily. These are all aimed at adult learners, but you may know enough about some of them already from teaching to provide your own content (time management, prioritizing tasks, providing feedback to colleagues, evaluating online sources for credibility, etc.).


The eLearning Heroes challenges are also a source for ideas.


Lisa Phillips

Thanks, Christy. I guess I just don't know where to start. I have not taught anything - I work with SME's who provide content that I take and develop their online courses from. It's the content/subjects part that I am missing. 

I will have a look at the e-learning challenges for sure as well as your suggestions. Thanks!

Christy Tucker

Sorry for misunderstanding your role, but those topics are probably still relevant from your own work experience. You have managed your own time, prioritized your own tasks, and given feedback to colleagues, right? For purposes of your portfolio, it doesn't matter too much if the content isn't 100% complete and accurate as long as you have a clear learning objective and meet it in a systematic way. Think about your own experience and what you know. You don't need a PhD to write a 5 minute course on time management. Prospective employers won't look at anything longer than 5 minutes.

For your certification course, I realize you might need something longer than 5 minutes. You could check the OER Commons for CC or Public Domain textbooks. That would give you the equivalent of SME content you could use. I saw Business Statistics as one option there. Just make sure you understand the licensing terms. https://www.oercommons.org/

Dave Ferguson


Can you identify some corporate or organizational topic that's of interest to you and then create your own example? If you haven't worked in this kind of setting but want to, your potential employer may well be more interested in how you approach a problem than in the specific content.

As part of my last job search, I created a detailed storyboard and mockup for a task-analysis process, and set it in a company that made hyperspace teleporters.

A slightly more real-world example: imagine a course about RRSPs [the Canadian equivalent of a 401(k) ]. You might develop a module to explain concepts and one to guide someone through opening an account with the Fictional Canadian Bank and selecting your investments.

Where do you find the SME? From existing information from agencies and financial organizations. The best part of a fictional example is that you can tailor the details to demonstrate your strengths and capabilities.

Paul Lush

I needed to create a course once and really wanted to use the product as a potential sample. The challenge was I couldn't use proprietary content so I looked around me. The H1N1 virus was a significant topic of discussion in the workplace and I built a module of 'best practices' to be implemented in the workplace.  There was a lot of info online and provided great opportunities for branching, knowledge checks, etc. I'm also an avid business book reader and I built a sample using best practices and areas of growth for managers in their first 100 days - again, I built it to be used as a portfolio piece. Just a few thoughts...............

Lois Ajiboye

Hi Lisa!
I understand where you're coming from. Perhaps you can create a training on how to use a particular software. A few examples:
1) You might consider creating a training on how to use the officer printer, copier or some technology you have in your home that has a manual or set of instructions. Most organizations and corporations require their employees to use a printer and a computer. 
2) When I was a classroom teacher, I used an absence management system called Aesop Online to submit my absences. A new teacher or a new administrative assistant would need to be trained on how to use Aesop Online. An e-learning course could be developed for that training.
3) You can contact a non-profit organization, church, library, etc. and see if they would allow you to create a short training for software they currently use. Hope this helps!

Jenny McNiven

Lisa, I am in basically the same boat as you so thank you for this thread! I have been developing a fake training project for my certificate program over the last class that involved everything except the actual module itself. I actually based it on an area at work where I thought we could have used better training, and now that my next course will require me to make an actual elearning module I am thinking I will use that opportunity to finish what I started. Is there an issue you can think of from your job history or a bad training experience that you could use your insights to create a training solution for? I think having real insight into how the training could impact my company helped me a lot with planning learning objectives, risk/population analysis, storyboarding, and writing.  Hopefully authoring it will also give me a portfolio piece that reflects real-world issues within my field. 

Catherine Austin

I was a teacher for 11 years, and then for the last six years as a corporate instructional designer. I understand where you are coming from.  I think the best thing to do and that would help you on several levels is to create a course on creating a course. :) Do just as you would do for any academic course you have created.  Think of someone in your shoes starting out.  What are some objectives that you could cover? Make it short and to the point. Remember just because it is online doesn't mean that when designing the course it would really be that much different than if you are teaching it in a face to face situation. First create your objectives, and then create the course around your objectives.

For example:

By the end of this course you will be able to:

Create a basic layout slide in storyline using a master slide

Convert a basic slide into a freeform quiz slide 

Develop a drag and drop interaction

You could then research these three objectives and create slides that match the how to. This is definitely an adult learning course, in demand and about e-learning. I have not only worked as an instructional designer, I have trained them as well. The best way to learn something is to do it and then teach it back to someone. You have a great platform for that here.

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