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Training Your New Rescue Dog


This scenario-based eLearning simulation assists new rescue dog owners navigate various common challenges of taking care of their new canine counterpart(s).

  • Responsibilities: Instructional Design, eLearning Development

  • Target Audience: New Rescue Dog Owners

  • Tools Used: Articulate Storyline & Rise, Adobe Xd, MindMeister

  • Year: 2021

  • Experience the eLearning HERE


This eLearning example presents three scenarios that require the new dog owner to choose the best proactive or reactive option to either prevent and/or stop the dog's behavior. The three scenarios are:

  1. Taking your new rescue dog on a walk.

  2. Leaving your new rescue dog home alone.

  3. Potty-training your new rescue dog.

Idea behind the eLearning

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reported that close to 1 in 5 households acquired a dog or cat since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for roughly 23 million U.S. homes. Speculation over whether or not a vast majority of these pets would be rehomed was the catalyst that started the creative process of this training.

The Goal

Due to a 9% increase in dog and cat adoptions in 202, the goal of this training was to instill in new rescue dog owners a preliminary level of knowledge regarding the needs of rescue dogs, thereby helping to reduce the number of dogs being rehomed or surrendered back to the adoption facilities.

Three learning objectives are as follows:

  1. Potential rescue dog owners will correctly identify effective dog training strategies and best practices.

  2. Potential rescue dog owners will engage in an analysis of their own readiness to own a rescue dog, as well as whether or not their homes are "rescue dog ready."

  3. Potential rescue dog owners will correctly determine which items they will need to purchase in preparation for living with a rescue dog.

The Process

I designed and developed this eLearning by drawing upon my own experiences with dog ownership, researching dog training best practices, and consulting with dog trainers and pet adoption owners. I used action mapping, scenario-based learning, gamification, and Articulate Storyline to bring this learning experience to life.

Action Map

Through action mapping, I identified three scenarios in which new dog owners can determine the best reactive or proactive solution. With these scenarios presented, the decision points for each scenario are more easily identified.

Text-based Storyboard

The storyboard identifies the title screen, introduction, various prompts/questions, mentor prompts, and imagery descriptions. Each scenario presents three specific choices and detailed consequences. The two incorrect choices produce negative consequences, while the correct choice produces a positive consequence with uplifting, affirming imagery.

Final Product

After multiple iterations, the final product includes vector images, coordinating icons, a mentor who provides assistance and feedback, a diverse representation of people with facial gestures appropriate to participants' choices, and use of Articulate Storyline features, including triggers, variables, and conditions.

Results and Takeaways

As this was the flagship project for an instructional design "boot camp," I allowed myself the necessary time to insure maximum impact and accuracy. The importance of reaching out to the instructor and fellow students was not taken for granted. The success of all projects, let alone sample projects, depends on frequent check-ins and feedback from colleagues, mentors, and more experienced instructional designers.

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