Having an eLearning portfolio is crucial to being able to share your work and capabilities with other people. I’m the kind of person that hates bragging about myself, so I really like being able to say “look what I can do” and letting the work speak for itself. You can learn more about the Whys of portfolios by checking out this multi-part blog post series by Ashley Chiasson or this great course by Kristen Anthony: Go Design Something: Building Your Job-Winning Portfolio.
If you’re interested in building your own portfolio, there are a number of options. You can use LinkedIn to showcase some pieces, use your eLearning Heroes profile page, or create your own website. There are a few services that will host your website for you, but if you’re somewhat technically inclined, self-hosting your website will give you tons of flexibility.
I’ve chosen to go with the last option; I have a self-hosted WordPress site. Most hosting services have instructions or tools to install WordPress, so you can get pretty far just by using a free or purchased theme. Once you’re up and running, you may want to expand the functionality of your site using WordPress plugins.
These plugins can save you from needing to perform more technical actions, like editing code. Some are plugins are free and others are paid; I find that most paid plugins are complex enough that the time they save me makes their price totally worth it. If you’re starting to build your own portfolio, I recommend checking out these plugins:
There are a lot of portfolio/gallery plugins for WordPress (as well as themes that feature portfolios). In general, they let you collect a larger number of projects on one page. The exact functionality will vary: a gallery plugin geared towards photographers will just display pictures, while others let you add project information and links.
I chose to use the Portfolio Gallery plugin because I liked the visual balance. It shows a good amount of text alongside the photos (which can be clicked on to see larger versions of the photos) and includes a “View More” button to link to the corresponding blog post for more details. You can see this plugin in action on my Portfolio or Freebies pages. Notice how the category sorting options are different on each- they are two different galleries aimed at potentially different audiences. The plugin has a few gallery types to choose from, but I like the Full-width block style because it has a nice balance of visuals, short text summary, and access to a longer explanation if desired.
Cost: Portfolio Gallery has a free option and a one-time $39 option which has more customization options.
Insert or Embed Articulate Content into WordPress
Once you’ve actually created content, you’ll need to get it onto your site. Embed codes are easy to add to posts if you have videos stored on Youtube or Vimeo. However, eLearning can be a bit trickier. When you publish a Storyline project for the web, you’ll end up with a zipped file containing everything you need to upload. You can use an FTP client like Filezilla to upload this content or use Storyline directly with your server details. However, if you’re not comfortable doing that or you want a really quick solution, this plugin is for you.
The plugin will unzip your materials and place them on your server. It gives you a few customization options for how the content is displayed or linked and it works for both Storyline and Rise files. I like this plugin a lot. However, I do wish it had a “replace” feature so you didn’t have to delete and then re-upload an updated course.
Cost: The Insert or Embed Articulate Content into WordPress trial version will let you try it out for three courses, thereafter it’s an annual $99 fee.
WP Extra File Types
Besides showing the finished product, you might also want to include source files in your portfolio. This plugin allows you “work out loud” and give back to the eLearning community so others can learn from your work. It can also give future clients or employers insights into your development style. If you try to upload a .story file to your media library, you’ll find that WordPress doesn’t let you do that. It only allows certain file types for security reasons.
This plugin allows you to easily add additional file types without editing code. It’s as simple as filling in three fields in the plugin settings:
Cost: WP Extra File Types is free!
If you do decide to make file downloads available, you can use this plugin to help manage them. It allows you to upload the file and then assigns it a shortcode to use on your pages or blog posts. Besides the ease of uploading, I really like that the plugin allows you to replace files in case you need to update them with changes. You’ll also see a widget on your WordPress dashboard showing you the number of file downloads in the last 24 hours, 7 days, and 30 days. It’s a neat way to see what kind of content is most popular with your website viewers!
Cost: Delightful Downloads is free!
You’ll find there are a lot more plugins available for WordPress. You’ll probably need to try a few before you find the one that fits your needs. If you’re making a portfolio for the first time, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. You can start small and then build out as you go along. I started with one ELH challenge and then went 10 months before I added my next post!