Walk the Walk

This concept project is a scenario-based eLearning experience designed to help new shelter volunteers and employees make appropriate decisions when walking a shelter dog to increase its chance of adoption.

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The Problem

The Spotted Paw Animal Sanctuary is a conceptual company devoted to the care and shelter of homeless and unwanted pets. They specialize in the comfort and care of animals while reinforcing positive behavior to increase adoption rates. An issue that is repeatedly coming up with volunteers and employees is the need to reinforce good behavior for the dogs each walk to better prepare the dog for adoption. Injuries and dog bites happen when processes of handling a shelter dog are not followed. This leads to the euthanasia of dogs and financial strain on the shelter through medical bills and rising training costs.

The Solution

After identifying the problem, I analyzed the volunteer and employee behaviors to identify if this problem was caused by a lack of skill or knowledge. I determined this problem is caused by a lack of both. Dog walkers are not aware of the behaviors to look for, do not know when to reward, and are inconsistent with rewarding the positive behavior or unsure on how to address the negative behavior. To address this, I proposed a scenario-based learning experience where dog walkers practice identifying behaviors, awarding positive behaviors, and addressing negative behavior while in a risk-free environment.

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My Process

In order to plan and create an effective learning experience, I used the ADDIE Model of instructional design. ADDIE consists of analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation. This model led me through an ongoing process of analysis, feedback, iteration, and testing by analyzing the problem, designing an action map, storyboard, and visual mockups, developing an interactive prototype and the full project, implementing the project, and finally evaluating the learning experience through user testing.

Action Map

For this project, I acted as the subject matter expert (SME) by recalling my experience volunteering at an animal shelter and mentoring teenagers during their volunteer time at the shelter. I began by identifying the overall goal of increasing dog adoptions which can be seen at the front of the action map.

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I then identified the decisions and actions the users would need to make in a real-life situation. The process of creating an action map ensured that all of the actions relate to the overall goal of the project.

Text-Based Storyboard

After identifying the main actions, I prioritized the most important actions to highlight in my learning experience. Then, I wrote a text-based storyboard to create choices and consequences. As the user goes through the scenario, they are presented with three choices: a correct choice and two distractors.

When the user chooses the correct action, they will see the positive consequence and continue through the scenario. If the user chooses an incorrect action, they will see a real-life negative consequence with varying severity and are provided with the opportunity to try again. If at any time the user needs help, they have access to a job aid with subtle hints and a mentor button that gives them advice from a veteran dog walker. This allows the user to choose when they receive information as opposed to being forced to read information they may already know.

The process of storyboarding allowed me to create an authentic experience with genuine consequences that immerses the user in the story to promote learning and retention.

Visual Mockups

After the text-based storyboard was approved, I began the visual design process by creating a mood board, a style guide, wireframes, and high-fidelity mockups using Figma. Since this is a conceptual company, I created a logo to build sincerity.

Once I had the logo and knew the feel I wanted to achieve, I created my mood board by finding illustrations that would tell the story and photo realistic images to keep authenticity. I created a style guide to keep my design consistent.

Next, I created wireframes and high-fidelity mockups to set the layout for each type of slide. While sourcing the final illustrations for the mockups, I could not find an image of dog kennels that matched the style of the other images, so I created the kennels myself using the vector pen tool in Affinity Designer. I also found illustration packs of characters for motion design and used my new found skills to customize the characters to match the project styling.

Want to see the progression from wireframes to high-fidelity mockups?
Select the tabs below to see different slide types. Use the left and right arrow (or the dots along the bottom) to see the different iterations of each slide type.

Interactive Prototype

Before creating the full project, I created an interactive prototype to gather feedback on the functionality of the project. This allowed me to fine tune any concerns before developing the final product. To create the prototype, I used Articulate Storyline 360. The prototype walks learners through the first scenario of the project. Learners experience the major elements they will encounter on their user journey - from encountering questions and experiencing consequences to interacting with the mentor and reviewing the elements on the job aid.

I ensured the mentor button and job aid were easily accessible by introducing them to the user with animations because people learn better when cues that highlight the organization of the essential material are added (Mayer’s Signaling Principle). The prototype included sound throughout the entire scenario, but after receiving feedback, I lowered the volume of the sound and limited it to the title scene, introduction and question scene. This allows the user to be immersed in the scenario without being overwhelmed or distracted by the sound, utilizing Mayer’s Coherence Principle (People learn better when extraneous words, pictures and sounds are excluded rather than included.)

During the development of this prototype I deepened my understanding of variables by allowing the user to choose their own character, adding the user’s name throughout the scenario, and including a success meter through the use of a slider that moved based on the choices made. I used layers for the information tied to the job aid button and mentor button. I used states for all of the buttons and the user character. I also used subtle animation of textboxes and illustrations.

After rounds of feedback and iteration through user testing, I refined the layout, animations, interactions, and sound then moved on to the full development of the project in Articulate Storyline 360.

Full Development

The full development of this project was very rewarding. My skills in Storyline were put to the test and I excelled in completing the build of the prototype to full development. I built the rest of the slides while continuing to use states, layers, triggers (standard and conditional), and variables.

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I am most proud of the consistent visual design throughout the project. Even when I could not find the images I needed, I was confident enough in my visual design skills to create what I needed (like the dog kennels).

I am also very proud of the fact that the user has the ability to choose a character to represent them. This was important to me because I want the user to feel like they are in the story walking the beloved Milo. The success meter was a charming feature that showed the user that with each choice they made, they could be helping Milo get closer to adoption.

Results & Takeaways

This product was well-received with feedback emphasizing the sound effects, music, illustrations, animations, and my attention to detail.

“I loved going through this project, Sabrina! I could tell you put a lot of time, thought, and care into it.”

-Erin Kingsley, Instructional Designer
“This is impressive! I think the music on the title screen was definitely a nice addition as it got me in a happy mood ready to visit a kennel full of puppies. I LOVED when Milo got loose and galloped away. I thought it was brilliant to have the Ramirez family send a letter of appreciation at the end...a nice touch for showcasing how happy they were with Milo after all that Milo had gone through to becoming a good puppy. Great work!! I really enjoyed this!”

- Savitre Tubrung, Human Resources Professional
“Where is the LOVE button. Fantastic! So well done. I love all the sound effects and the music at the beginning.”

-Jessica Reischel, Instructional Designer

After completing this project I have a stronger understanding of the instructional design process  using the ADDIE framework from ideation to full development. I learned how to analyze a situation to find the root problem and use that analysis to decide whether an eLearning solution was the best method. I gained project management skills when it came to receiving feedback and making iterations in a timely manner, while continuing to create high-quality deliverables. I understand the importance of creating an action map to ensure that the project stays aligned to the goal of the company.

I thoroughly enjoyed creating this learning experience and look forward to continuing to create meaningful and captivating experiences.

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