Learning Experience for Cat Shelter Volunteers

Project Link:  Click here to view the full project.

While completing my Workplace eLearning and Performance Support Certificate with Boise State University, I was fortunate enough to take an Advanced Instructional Design course. The course focused on incorporating design thinking into the instructional design process. Throughout the length of the course, I worked with a group of 3 other instructional design practitioners to create a high fidelity prototype of a learning experience aimed at empowering volunteers at the Idaho Humane Society Cattery.


Empowering Animal Shelter Volunteers

The Idaho Humane Society requires volunteers at their cattery to identify and assess potential adopters needs and have knowledge of cats available for adoption. The volunteers must then synthesize this information in an effort to recommend cats that would be a quality fit with the potential adopters.

Volunteers currently struggle feeling confident while matching cats with their forever homes and it is common for cats that are adopted to be later returned to the shelter. Current adoption rates of cats at the shelter are at 73%; the shelter hopes to increase this to 85%.


Agile Approach

Analysis – Our team shifted through over 200 pages of research consisting of volunteer interviews, surveys, and observations. We also conducted our own interviews to identify common issues among animal shelter volunteers.


Mission Statement – Based on our analysis, our group conducted a brainstorm where we generated possible ideas of experiences that would solve our learners problems. From there, we developed a mission/vision statement to guide our project.

Learning Experience Statement for Cattery Volunteers at Idaho Humane Society


Empathy Map – We then created an empathy map based on research of our learners. This allowed us to consider who are learners were, what they’re doing, seeing, saying, hearing, thinking, and feeling.

Low Fidelity Empathy Map for Idaho Humane Society Cattery Volunteers

User Persona – Our next step was creating a persona for a segment of the cat volunteers at the shelter. We created both low fidelity and high fidelity prototypes of the persona segment. This allowed us to gain a better understanding of the background, goals, tasks, and characteristics of our learners.

Higher Fidelity Empathy Map for Sharon


Journey Map – We incorporated the persona into a journey map of a potential learning experience for our volunteers. This allowed us to identify different phases of learning the volunteers would go through, actions they would take, their emotional experience, and identify areas where potential learning solutions could be incorporated.

Higher Fidelity Journey Map for Sharon


The Furever Home Web Based App

The final outcome of our project was a high fidelity prototype of The Furever Home Web Based App. The app would support the volunteers throughout the adoption intake process and enable them to provide effective, efficient, and customer centered intakes.

Volunteers can use the app on their mobile phone or tablets. The app incorporates volunteer tools such as an intake questionnaire, job aids on cat and animal behavior,  animal care and safety information, and customer service. The app also incorporates a digital badging component that tracks how many successful adoptions a volunteer has assisted with and encourages them to mentor and coach other volunteers in the shelter.


Higher Fidelity Prototype of The Furever Home Based Web App