Hi there. Are you an experienced website designer? Are you a WordPress expert? Then this post may not be for you. This post is about some of my trials, challenges and successes as a non-website designer while building my personal ELearning portfolio webiste. This post hopefully meets the requirements of an assignment for my Master’s of Instructional Design and Technology program at CSUF. My goal of this post is to hopefully inspire or help a fellow ELearning specialist in taking on the challenge of building their own ELearning portfolio website to showcase their work.
I started learning WordPress off and on for approximately 2 years now. I would tinker with my website for awhile then take long breaks for weeks or months when I got frustrated or just needed something else to do. However, I never gave up. Although, my website still needs some work, I am finally at a place that I can add to the website instead of creating different iterations of the website. WordPress comes with many different themes, plug-ins, and widgets to choose from that allows you to customize a website that you love. I”m not at love yet, but I am at a solid like.
Trial #1 – Selecting a theme:
WordPress offers many different themes, some are free and some cost money. Unless you are an experienced website designer and know what features to look for, I would highly recommend one of the free themes that is offered. In my case, I think I downloaded at least 20 different free themes to play and experiment with during my selection process. Each theme offers different features and options that allow you to customize your website.
It wasn’t until today, that I finally selected a theme that I am happy with (for now 🙂 )
This theme is called Quality Blue
Belive it or not, this is what my website could look like….like I said, I still have a ton of work to do.
Trial #2 – Customization
Once I finally selected a theme, I needed to figure out what I wanted it to look and act like. I played with many color schemes and some got crazy, like hot pink and dark blue, what was I thinking. However, just like in building ELearning courses I had to always keep in mind my audience. Who is or will be my audience? Even with more eye-appealing color schemes, I had to view my website with that corporate professional’s perspective. Simple seemed to be a good option. I have also always had my eye focused on some type of blue color palette. There seems to be many different corporations and organizations that incorporate a shade of blue into their culture, so it seemed the safest color at this point. As for other customization options that are available based on the image of the template above, there are many other options that I can tinker with along my journey.
Trial #3 – Confidence
My issue with confidence is putting myself out there. How do I want my website to represent me? What do I want people to see when they visit my website? I am still working on the look of my home page, but I am just happy that I only need to worry about building up one page instead of the building of an entire website at this point. My other issue in this area, is that once I started exploring other ELearning designer websites, I would love theirs, which somehow equated to hating mine (again). I would get frustrated with the fact that I am not a web designer and am not sure how to showcase my work using others layouts as inspiration. Some examples that I like are from: Ashley Chiasson , Tim Slade, and one of my all-time favorites Jackie Van Nice (who I have mentioned in previous assignments.
However, I need to realize two things:
- This website is a work in process
- My website will improve with content – content is king 🙂
If I could share one piece of advice with any ELearning specialists who are non-website designers out there…jump in, try it out, experiment, and don’t be afraid. I have built my website from scratch a few times now and am no longer afraid to delete or remove or change anything in my website. If you need to, you can start from scratch. Sometimes, it is better to start over than try to fix something that is too broken to fix.
The challenge for me was facing some fears and insecurites I had about presenting my work to the world. The questions that constantly run through my head are; will a view like a course that I created? Will a potential client be turned off by my ELearning samples? What types of courses should I build that will potentially motivate a client to choose me?
All of these answers can be summed up with one response that I already stated…Content is King!
The more samples that I display on my website, the more likely that a viewer will find one or more that sells them on my skills. Currently, I only have 4 samples, but my goal is to create 1 ELearning course per week. If I stick to this plan, then by the time I graduate from my Master’s program, I will have approximately 24 samples in my portfolio. The great thing is that I can visit the Weekly ELearning Heroes Challenges to gather inspiration. I can contribute to a challenge or just view what others are doing in the ELearning world.
There many successes that I have had in developing my own website. The main success that I have had is in the fact that I built a working website, even if it just a shell at this point. The other main success is by creating ELearning samples, I can now feel comfortable and confident when discussing my work samples to potential employers and clients. I know the decisions that I made and why. It helps to write about the development of your courses, so that you have time to reflect and think about the choices that you made. Never forget to celebrate your successes is the third and probably most important lesson in this journey. Happy ELearning.
Thanks for viewing,
ELearning by Dana