Two Ways to Build an E-Learning Portfolio

e-learning portfolio

You want to build an e-learning portfolio, but not sure where to start?

At its core, the work portfolio represents your skills and expertise. For some people, the portfolio is their resume, and they build it to share what they know. And for others, the portfolio shows their projects as part of the journey that needs to be documented.

During the initial planning, decide if you want the portfolio to be static where you only do occasional maintenance and updates. Or if you want a site that’s more dynamic and continually updating?

Build a Static E-Learning Portfolio

For a static portfolio, the main goal is to show off the best of what you can do. It’s your business card. You build the portfolio and it’s not constantly being updated. It’s not something you spend a lot of time on. You only update it once or twice a year.

Here are a few considerations when building a static portfolio.

  • Represent diverse skills. Identify a few common course types such as interactive scenarios, compliance training, software simulations, etc.
  • Present the projects in a consistent framework: What was the goal? What role did you play? What did you build? What was the outcome?
  • Keep is simple. No need to show the entire course. Either show screenshots or small chunks of the module (like just the interactive parts). You could do a quick 30-second video trailer of the module. That’s also an effective way to get around uploading a real course when it is proprietary and you can’t share it.

Build a Dynamic E-Learning Portfolio

For a dynamic portfolio, the main goal is to show what you can do as an ongoing pursuit. It highlights your evolving skills. Many people show projects, share files, and discuss things they learned on the projects.

  • Determine a manageable schedule. Most people start aggressively and then peter out and the portfolio goes nowhere. You’re not a news site where you need to post every day. Start slow and be consistent.
  • Commit to a production process. What tends to be the most difficult is producing new ideas. That’s why I like the weekly challenges as a way to manage the portfolio. Commit to one per month. This gives you something to build and show as a routine.
  • Share your learning. Show what you built and then write about things you learned. They don’t need to be big thoughts or exhaustive. For example, you could say, “in this example, I wanted to play around with animation ideas…”
  • Be the expert. Share your source files and do quick tutorials. Read an industry book or blog posts and write your thoughts.

Whether you build a portfolio as an active job seeker or to document your learning, it’s a good practice to develop. Do you have a portfolio? If so, feel free to share a link and share your thoughts.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 

Pixabay und Co.

Ich gebe den Beitrag einmal hier in die Runde: Es geht um Plattformen wie Pixabay, Pexels oder Unsplash, die viele von uns nutzen, um ihre Dokumente und Präsentationen mit kostenlosen Fotos zu illustrieren. Das ist im Prinzip auch kein Problem. Aber die Plattformen stellen ihre Medien nicht unter eine Creative Commons-Lizenz, sie sind auch nicht gemeinfrei, sondern unterliegen jeweils eigenen, spezifischen Lizenzbedingungen, die gewisse Klauseln beinhalten. Diese schränken vor allem bestimmte Formen kommerzieller Nutzung ein. Deshalb schreibt der Autor zusammenfassend: “Für sortenreines OER, das eindeutig lizenziert und einfach nachzunutzen sein sollte, kommen Bilder und Inhalte von Pixabay und Co. nicht in Frage.” Das sollte man wissen. Nicht mehr und nicht weniger.
Henry Steinhau, OERinfo, 3. September 2021

Bildquelle: Daniel Lin (flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)  

 

Hybride Präsenzveranstaltungen in der Weiterbildung – ein Beispiel und Erfolgsfaktoren

Weiter geht es mit dem Stichwort “hybrid”! Auch wenn man sich auf eine Übersetzung des Begriffs geeinigt hat (hybrid = Veranstaltungen, in denen einige Teilnehmende vor Ort, andere online sind), kann die konkrete Umsetzung einer hybriden Präsenzveranstaltung eine Aufgabe sein, die einiges an Planung und Erfahrung erfordert. Wie aufwändig die Umsetzung ist, hängt nicht zuletzt von den konkreten Rahmenbedingungen des jeweiligen Bildungsveranstalters ab, seinen Zielen, seinen Möglichkeiten und dem didaktischen Design seiner Lehr- und Lernszenarien.

Auch die scil Academy in St. Gallen hat sich in den letzten Wochen und Monaten mit hybriden Designs auseinandergesetzt. Christoph Meier hat daraus einen ausführlichen Erfahrungsbericht entwickelt. “Dieser Beitrag skizziert unsere Rahmenbedingungen als Bildungsanbieter, das Blended Learning Design unserer Weiterbildungsmodule, das technische Setup für die Durchführung von hybriden Vertiefungsphasen und Aspekte der Prozessgestaltung. Abschliessend werden die damit verbundenen Herausforderungen und Erfolgsfaktoren zusammengefasst.”

Die Lektüre lohnt sich, weil alle wichtigen Bausteine bzw. Einflussfaktoren hybrider Veranstaltungen angesprochen und bewertet werden: das didaktische Design der Kurse, die technische Ausstattung, die Kompetenzen der TrainerInnen bzw. LernbegleiterInnen sowie die der Kursteilnehmenden. Und weil Christoph Meier, wie immer, sehr offen über die Konzepte, Pläne und Erfahrungen der scil Academy spricht!

Hier ein Absatz aus dem Beitrag zum Stichwort “Erwartungsmanagement”: “Wir waren davon ausgegangen, dass die Option, auf Distanz an der Präsenzphase eines Moduls teilzunehmen, vor allem für weit entfernte Teilnehmende attraktiv ist. Aber die Präferenzen der Teilnehmenden sind einfach unterschiedlich – und wir müssen dies als Weiterbildungsanbieter zur Kenntnis nehmen. So hat sich, beispielsweise, ein Teilnehmer entschieden, neun Stunden Bahnfahrt (jeweils Hin- & Rückfahrt) für die Teilnahme in St.Gallen zu investieren, weil ihm die direkte Begegnung mit uns und den anderen Teilnehmenden sehr wichtig war. Andererseits hat sich eine Teilnehmerin, die gut zwei Stunden Reisezeit gehabt hätte (jeweils Hin- & Rückfahrt), für eine Teilnahme auf Distanz entschieden.”
Christoph Meier, scil/ Blog, 28. August 2021

Bildquelle: scil

Virtuelle Weiterbildung: Wie effektiv ist sie und worauf kommt es an?

Die AutorInnen setzen bei der gegenwärtig gestiegenen Nachfrage nach netzgestützten Lösungen in der Weiterbildung an und rücken die Effektivität virtueller Weiterbildung noch einmal ins Zentrum der Aufmerksamkeit. Dabei stellen sie die Ergebnisse einiger Studien und Metaanalysen aus den letzten zwei Jahrzehnten vor. Verglichen werden dabei in der Regel verschiedene Präsenz- und Online-Formate.

Dabei zeigt sich (wieder), dass die Frage nach der Effektivität vor zwei großen Hürden steht: 

a) “Virtuelle Weiterbildung” ist heute ein weites Feld: Es reicht vom einstündigen Webinar bis zum mehrmonatigen Lehrgang, vom Web-based Training bis zum Online-Workshop. Vor allem ältere Studien, die die Bandbreite der Online-Lösungen noch nicht kannten, haben heute eigentlich keine Aussagekraft mehr.

b) Die AutorInnen weisen zu Recht immer wieder darauf hin, dass fast alle vorliegenden Studien die Zufriedenheit oder den Lernerfolg der Lernenden messen, nicht aber deren Handlungskompetenz, “da solche Messungen methodisch anspruchsvoll und aufwendig sind”. Ob also das Gelernte auch in der Praxis umgesetzt wird, bleibt in der Regel offen.

Im Mittelpunkt des Fazits stehen vor diesem Hintergrund – wenig überraschend – zwei Hinweise: “Virtuelle Weiterbildungsangebote sind gemessen am Lernerfolg nicht zwangsläufig besser oder schlechter als klassische präsenzorientierte Maßnahmen.” Und: “Auch bei virtuellen Weiterbildungsangeboten sollten Lehrende als Ansprechpersonen für die Lernenden zur Verfügung stehen.”
Carmen Aprea und Heiko Weckmüller, Haufe.de, 19. August 2021

Bildquelle: Judit Peter (pexels)

Understanding Effective E-Learning

effective e-learning

One mistake many e-learning experts make is that they talk about “e-learning” as if it’s a single thing and always focused on performance improvement. They talk about engagement and interactivity and measurable objectives. Those are all good things and super important for many courses. However, anything not linked to performance is then considered ineffective.

But are those things always the measure of effective e-learning?

A common challenge is your organization focuses more on getting content out and less about learning engagement, and probably not about measurable improvement. This may appear to be ineffective, but it just depends on what the organization is trying to accomplish.

Effectiveness should be tied to how you satisfy the needs of the organization. This is especially true because a lot of what gets called “e-learning” really isn’t about learning or learning experiences that are measurable.

How do we measure effectiveness?

The first step is to understand what type of “course” you are building. Is it really a learning experience? Or is it more like interactive, explainer content? Based on that understanding you can determine the appropriate level of effectiveness. That could range from customer satisfaction to changes in performance.

Here are some tips that I share with beginners when they ask how to build effective courses.

Effective E-Learning: Serves the Customer

Please your customer. That could be an internal or external customer. This has little to do with the effectiveness of the course and more about how you manage the relationship. What are some ways to please your customer?

  • Establish clear expectations and then meet or exceed them. Make sure to get agreements in writing so everyone agrees on the expectations and success.
  • Make your customer look good. Give them as much credit as possible. I would always send nice emails and CC their supervisors.
  • Control your costs. Many course developers get no budget, so that’s not a problem. Regardless, be cost sensitive.
  • Finish ahead of schedule. If possible, I pad the production time to account for potential issues. But I work to deliver ahead of schedule.
  • Be proactive and take care of details before they come to the attention of the customer. This is one of the best things you can do.

Effective E-Learning: Serves the Business

It’s important to align your work with the organization’s goals. Do your best to get your customer and courses focused on performance results (assuming the goal is to produce something measurable like improved sales). If the courses are explainer-type courses, you may not have measurable results, but you can focus on other things as noted below.

  • Establish clear objectives and measure the results. Find out how they’re measured in the first place and then use that to compare afterwards.
  • Report the performance results. Unbelievably, many trainers fail to report how their courses contributed to the performance results.
  • Make sure that your projects are cost effective and save time. This makes up for those times when you don’t have measurable objectives. You can report that you saved the organization’s resources.
  • Compare what it costs to outsource the training to what it cost for you to develop it. Then report the value you brought to the organization by not outsourcing.

You’re only great if your customer thinks you’re great. Make sure to manage the relationship and use your e-learning expertise so they focus on tangible results. If your customer is happy, then you’re an effective course designer.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 

How Are You Using 360° Images in E-Learning?

360° Image e-learning

Storyline 360 includes a 360° image feature where one can insert interactive markers and labels. On top of that, one can also leverage all the other capabilities of Storyline and layer content on top of the image.

Last week, the e-learning challenge was to create some 360° image interactions. Some of the submissions intrigued me with how they used other layers and variables to track movement through the 360° image.

Here are four examples from the weekly challenge that demonstrate this:

360° Image Example: Once in a Lifetime

e-learning 360° images

This is a bit playful and outside the realm of e-learning, but what I like is that it’s a clever way to navigate through content. Each image represents one point of content versus a series of interactive markers and labels.

View 360° image example via Jonathan Hill

360° Image Example: Medical Industry

360° image example e-learning

This example shows some interesting ways to use variables throughout the interaction with the 360 image. It tracks movement, varies content displayed, and also includes some assessment.

View 360° image example via Montse Anderson

360° Image Example: Mi & Mo

360° Image example e-learning

This is another playful example that integrates animation and other layers rather than the default labels to collect information.

View 360° image example via Chris Hodgson

360° Image Example: Lotsen Station

360° Image

This demo is close to the type of interactions one might build in a real e-learning course. There’s layers of information and other clickable content, interactive dials, and an easy-to-spot quiz.

View 360° image example via Samuel Apata

This is just a sampling. There are a lot of other interesting ideas in the e-learning challenges, like this one with the fish animation. So be sure to check them out.

After looking at some of the demos, I am curious about how people actually use the 360° images in their e-learning courses. Are you using them to explore the office or facility? Are you using them to identify issues in the environment such as find the fire hazards? Or are you doing something novel?

If you use 360° in your courses, please share how you’re using them and any other recommendations.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 

Production Tip: Access All of the Images from Your Website in One Click

extract image e-learning

When I create presentations for our webinars or workshops, I like to use the imagery from our e-learning community or the Articulate website. They’re on-brand and with the illustrations, we have a lot from which to choose. When I created training at previous organizations, I did something similar.

If you need to collect images from your company site to use in your training this tip should help.

Usually when I find an image, I right-click to save. However, this is a bit tedious.

website images

Here are two simple ways to see all the downloadable images and save them.

Image Extractor Extension

Use the image extractor extension in your browser. When you get to a page on your website, click the extension and it will isolate all the images. You can review what’s there and then download what you need.

free image extractor

Image Extractor Site

Another option is to use the Image Extractor site. Add a URL and it opens a browser via the server and extracts the images. It does an excellent job filtering images and removing tracking images. It also identifies the types of images and you can do a batch download.

image extractor

Here are a few considerations:

  • This is not intended to help you steal images and content from sites where you own no rights.
  • Be sure to properly credit sources.

There you go. Two simple ways to extract images from your website.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 

Zur Bedeutung leiblicher Ko-Präsenz in Bildungsveranstaltungen. Warum digitale Lehre die Interaktion unter Anwesenden nur eingeschränkt simulieren kann

Bisher wurden Präsenzveranstaltungen in der Bildung und ihre Vorteile als selbstverständlich betrachtet. Wenn nach der Pandemie die Karten für “online” und “Präsenz” neu gemischt werden, wird man genauer nach den Vorteilen des Zusammenkommens vor Ort fragen werden. Ein Vorteil, so der Autor, liegt darin, dass wir uns in Präsenz ganz anders wechselseitig wahrnehmen können, dass wir die Perspektive ändern können und dass diese Wahrnehmungen und Veränderungen wiederum von Anderen wahrgenommen werden können.

Das alles können zum Beispiel Videokonferenzen nicht bieten: “Die Videokonferenz konstituiert sich so über eine Standardisierung der Richtungen des Wahrnehmens. … Es ist im wörtlichen Sinne nicht möglich, aufeinander zuzugehen oder voneinander Abstand zu nehmen, sich jemandem zu- oder von jemandem abzuwenden. Man kann sich auch so den gemeinsamen Gegenständen nicht unterschiedlich annähern.”

Nun muss man anmerken, dass hier Unterschiede zwischen Präsenzveranstaltungen vor Ort und Videokonferenzen beschrieben werden! Ob es dabei um Vorteile oder Nachteile handelt, hängt letztlich immer vom konkreten Lehr- und Lernszenario und seiner Einschätzung durch die Lehrenden ab.
Jörg Dinkelaker, Hessische Blätter für Volksbildung (HBV), 2/ 2021, S. 30-40 

The Power of an E-Learning Portfolio

e-learning portfolio

At one point, I was hiring an e-learning course developer. I received hundreds of qualified applications; however I couldn’t screen them all, so I created a first filter based on their work portfolios. Most of the applicants tended to fall into one of two camps: they didn’t have an e-learning portfolio or the projects they worked on were proprietary so they couldn’t share them.

I know that many of you are in the same boat. And based on the tons of emails I get about finding work in this industry, I’d like to share some thoughts about why you need a portfolio and how it can help you get better at e-learning (even if you’re not looking for work).

Be at the Crossroads When Opportunity and Preparation Meet

Opportunities exist. However, when you’re not prepared, you don’t see them or bother looking. And if you do look, you don’t always know what to look for. If you have a portfolio ready-to-go, when you do hear of a potential job (or other opportunity), you can quickly jump on it. However, not having a portfolio might dissuade you from even attempting to pursue the opportunity.

In addition, because you maintain a portfolio of your skills, you’re more apt to think about the skills you need for the portfolio. It then becomes a motivator to learn more which will always help in your career.

Concerning my hiring experience, most of the people told me that they didn’t have portfolios and it would take them a week or so to pull them together.  Most opportunities have a limited shelf-life and a week (or sometimes a few days) might be too long. As an opportunity presents itself you need to be able to take advantage of it.

Control Your Own Destiny & How Your Skills Are Defined

Many e-learning developers face two common problems: all the work done is proprietary and can’t be shared with outsiders. And worst, the organization’s course expectations are lower than your skills.

A lot of people tell me they can’t share what they were working on. This makes sense for the organization, but not for you. Don’t allow their content to make your skills proprietary, as well. In the same sense, don’t let their lower expectations define your skills. This is not about being anti organization. Instead, it’s about being pro you.

Years ago, I worked for a small community healthcare organization. It was a wonderful place to work. However, they had no money, and I was forced to be creative with my projects.

This was a double-edged sword. On one hand, a lot of the tips and tricks I share today come from having to work with no money or resources. On the other hand, while I got points for creativity, the projects I produced weren’t the types of projects I could use to get a job elsewhere. I had to build and maintain a separate portfolio of skills that wasn’t defined by the organization’s constraints and limited expectations.

Here’s something that happens all the time and an important consideration: if you lose your job, you could be flushing a lot of your work down the drain. One day you’re happy at work and the next you’re out on the street with no access to your projects or the tools used to build them. For these reasons, it’s important to maintain a portfolio to document your skills and experience and maintain an archive of projects.

What Should Be in Your E-Learning Portfolio?

E-learning is a truly diverse industry. Some people work in one-person shops where they need to know a little of everything and others can focus on one thing like instructional design or course development. Personally, I think e-learning skills should be like a liberal arts education where you touch a little of everything.

Here is a list of skills you need and can highlight in your portfolio (and be able to speak to them in an interview):

  • Instructional design: Do you have examples of different approaches to learning and course design? I look at a lot of courses and most of them are usually linear and kind of all the same. Have some examples of how to engage your learners and how they can interact with the content.
  • Graphic design: While everyone talks about instructional design, an equal consideration is the visual design. In fact, what separated many of the candidates that I considered were their visual design skills. If all things are equal, I’ll take someone with a keen sense of visual design because it crosses into other areas like engagement, communication, and usability.
  • Present diverse projects: Don’t show twenty courses that all look the same. If that’s all you get to work on, then spend some time on your own and build out other examples. They don’t need to be complete courses. Build out an interaction or a scenario. Take one topic and try it three different ways. Do the weekly challenges for easy modules that work great for portfolio content.
  • Project management: You don’t need to be a project manager, but you should understand how to manage a project from start to finish. What is the production process for an e-learning course? How many hours does it take to build a course? What resources are required? What does it cost to produce a course? What types of assets are required? How will they be produced or procured?
  • Writing: I like to keep things simple. I look for two types of writing examples: technical and conversational. How well can you write to document procedures and provide the right level of guidance? On the other hand, some projects are not technical and require a more conversational tone.
  • Technology: You don’t need to be a software engineer, but you should know the essence of the technologies and how they work. In addition, the more tools you’re familiar with the better. The reality is that the more proficient you are with software, the more likely you’ll be a top candidate versus someone in the middle. And learn about building accessible e-learning. It’s no longer an excuse to not know.

How to Get Started with an E-Learning Portfolio

Here a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Build a simple case study for each project. It doesn’t need to be overly fancy. Describe the project objectives, what you did, and the results. If you have examples add them. If not, at least try to add some screenshots. Focus on a professional and interesting visual presentation of those projects.
  2. Start a blog to document your learning. Use it to capture what you’re doing and thoughts you have during the production process. If you need ideas to get started, do a weekly challenge, and then share what you did and write about your process. Share your files.
  3. Network with others. Experience is no good if you have no place to show it (portfolio) or share it (your network). The good thing with blogging and other social tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and the e-learning community is that you connect with others in the industry. You’ll learn a lot and others will get to know you and your skills. It’s a wonderful way to prepare for opportunities. In fact, many e-learning developers I know got their jobs through their portfolios and sharing their work with others.

If you want to stay in this industry and keep up with your skills, then having a portfolio is critical. You can’t always control your circumstances, but you can control how you prepare for them.

What do you think is missing from the list?  What would you add?


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 

Viel Geld für Wachstumsfantasien im E-Learning-Markt

Degreed, Masterplan, Articulate. In diese Unternehmen sind jüngst große Summen investiert worden, berichtet Gudrun Porath in ihrer Kolumne. Handelt es sich dabei um routinemäßige Bewegungen auf dem internationalen Bildungsmarkt? Zeigen die Investments, dass E-Learning im Zeichen der Corona-Krise boomt? Reagiert das Kapital jetzt auf den Ruf nach verstärkten Reskilling-/ Upskilling-Aktivitäten? Oder … ?
Gudrun Porath, Haufe.de, 7. Juli 2021

Bildquelle: Markus Winkler (Unsplash)