Everything these days seems to start with the letter "e." There are eBooks, ePubs, e-mail and our topic today, ePortfolios. Of course we all know the "e" stands for electronic. So you can understand the concept of an eBook or e-mail. But, not everyone is familiar with portfolios. A portfolio is “a selection of a student's work (as papers and tests) compiled over a period of time and used for assessing performance or progress” according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Artists also use portfolios for their works of art (photos, drawings, writings, etc.). Without a lot of work experience, students use them to provide evidence to an employer about their skills, abilities and extra curricula activities. So why would a trainer need a portfolio, and what would be a part of it?
Why have a portfolio?
It's difficult to explain your comprehensive training program in a few bullet points on a one-page résumé. A portfolio documents your planning process, training, follow-up, and evaluation process. It can showcase presentations, result data and other achievements.
Throughout your career as a workplace learning and performance professional, you have many opportunities to present and train on a variety of topics. You can include podcasts, webinar recordings, presentations and other media so potential clients and employers can get a feel for how your present and teach.
What should your portfolio say about YOU?
- You are enthusiastic about your profession and continually learn and improve.
- You reflect and learn from achievements and mistakes.
- You provide your employer, clients, and learners with the highest-level quality education, training, and development.
- You keep informed of pertinent knowledge and competence in the workplace learning and performance field.
- You fairly and accurately represent your credentials, qualifications, experience, and ability.
Designing Your Portfolio
Chose a program. Blogging sites can much of what you need. If you want good design with quick startup, try Blogger. If you want more control, WordPress and Tumblr allow for more customization. If you prefer to set your portfolio to be more like a website, Google Sites is relatively easy to learn.
Make navigation simple; include a contents section with links to the various sections/pages. Use keywords or tags to help categorize entries. Be logical in your layout; consider the impression you will be giving about the way you potentially think and work.
Include an "About Me" section that tells a little more about your personal side. This is also a place to include a brief summary of employment and positions. You can also highlight awards and other accomplishments. Mention conferences and continuing education, such as certificates and certifications. ASTD meetings and other speaking engagements also speak well for you as a workplace learning and performance professional.
If you're not sure where to start, take a look at the ASTD Competency Model. This should give you ideas of what to focus on and what to include.
In summary, everybody's ePorfolio will be different, and it should reflect your growth and personality in your profession. It makes for a great reference for potential clients and employers. Good luck!