How to Create an E-Learning Portfolio on the Cheap

Create A Free Elearning Portfolio

The question comes up from time to time: “I can’t afford Articulate/Captivate/whatever – how do I create an e-learning portfolio?” Fortunately, there are still tools you can use to create a captivating e-learning portfolio for cheap, or even free.

Microsoft PowerPoint ($10 month for Microsoft Office)

When friends ask what I do for a living, I often say “PowerPoints on steroids.” You even create interactive PowerPoints. A well designed PowerPoint can go a long way in a portfolio, especially due to its similarity with Articulate Storyline.

Free Alternative: Google Slides

Camtasia ($299)


While not ultra-cheap, Camtasia is a much cheaper alternative to Storyline and Captivate. It doesn’t have nearly the same capabilities as either of them, but you are able to create quizzes. It’s a commonly used screen capture and editor tool in the e-learning industry.

Free Alternatives: CamStudio with Microsoft Movie Maker (PC) or Quicktime Screen Recorder with iMovie (Mac).

BranchTrack (Free – Limited)


BranchTrack is a neat little tool to create branching scenarios in. You can create up to 3 projects and have 50 learners on a free account.

Free Alternative: Twine – not nearly as “clean” and upgraded looking as BranchTrack, but still an impressive tool that you can use an unlimited amount.

GameSalad (Free)


GameSalad is a free tool to create video games. However, it isn’t a stretch to repurpose it for creating e-learning.

Other free video game creators: GameMaker | Stencyl

PowToon (Free – Limited)


PowToon is a popular tool for the average Joe to create fun, animated videos, with a free account option.

Free Alternative: Very creative use of PowerPoint and/or Microsoft Movie Maker

Tawe ($12 month)

Link – get VideoScribe and Tawe together for $12 month

Similar to Prezi, where you turn essentially an image into a neat presentation – except you can actually export it into a video.

Free Alternative: Prezi (free and paid versions available)

VideoScribe ($12 month)

Link – get VideoScribe and Tawe together for $12 month

A popular whiteboard explainer video software.

Free/Cheap Alternative: an actual whiteboard, your smartphone camera, and a lot of patience.

Tumult Hype ($49 Mac Only)


Tumult Hype is an inexpensive HTML5 interactive website creator. Since it is Mac only, I can’t play with it. But it looks like a great, inexpensive tool.

Alternative: Adobe Edge – it’s not free or cheap, but I felt the need to include something for us PC users.

What Your Free or Cheap Portfolio Could Look Like

You have a free website from either WordPress or Blogger. Your portfolio page contains a small software tutorial video, an instructional video on something non-technical, a BranchTrack or Twine branching scenario, and a PowerPoint course deck that could be easily uploaded and transformed within Storyline. Ideally, you would even have links to e-learning storyboards. An actual blog page doesn’t hurt either.

What are some other free or cheap tools you’ve used?

Bonus: Check out Ashley’s series on creating a portfolio

Double Bonus: Check out Kris’s pay-what-you-want e-book on creating a kick ass portfolio

  • Kimberly Moler

    Awesome post, I discovered a lot of cool tools I didn’t know about before!

  • Thanks so much for the link, Rachel! Really appreciate it.