Instructional Design: Creating an interactive digital product for education

Term Paper, 2020

43 Pages, Grade: 1,7


Table of Contents

List of tables

1 Introduction

2 ADDIE Model

3 Analysis
3.1 Employee Onboarding
3.1.1 Onboarding Process Levels
3.1.2 Onboarding Programs
3.1.3 Onboarding Success factors
3.2 Target Group Analysis
3.3 Learning Objectives

4 Design & Development
4.1 Educational Context
4.2 Howspace
4.3 Research Question and Hypotheses

5 Implementation

6 Evaluation
6.1 LORI – Questionnaire
6.2 Quality Criteria
6.3 Data Collection
6.4 Data Analysis
6.5 Data Discussion

7 Conclusion
7.1 International Cooperation Project
7.2 General Conclusion

8 Literaturverzeichnis

9 Appendix

List of tables

Table 1: Maximum point statistics of the LORI questionnaire

Table 2: Descriptive statistics of the LORI questionnaire

1 Introduction

Every year, million of people start a job with a new organization. Most employers and employees are faced with employee fluctuation in a workplace and/or being a new member in a workplace. The question of knowledge management, how to ease the transition into a new environment and how to provide a best possible start, affects most professional lives (Kammeyer-Müller et al., 2013, p. 1120). For organizations onboarding is a challenge. Around 20% of staff turnover occur in the beginning of employment. Therefore, organization must develop well structured onboarding programs to be successful. That means to retain talents and to help them to be productive and contribute to the organziation’s success (Bauer, 2013, p. 3; Carucci, 2018, p. 1; Chilakuri, 2020, p.2).

Therefore, organizations need to implement successful onboarding programs. In 2020 it is time to onboard online or in a blended onboarding scenario. The new workforce in the organizations is different to older generations. They were born in a digital world (Yadav et al. 2020, p. 3580; Bencisk et al., 2016, p. 92). Therefore, the onboarding process must be digitalized. Digitalization, means “the growing use of information and communication technology in every area of our lives.” (Cijan at al., 2019, p. 4). Software tools “are an innovative means to support provide onboarding processes in a modern (…) way” (Heimburger et al. 2019, p. 3).

In this paper the design, implementation and evaluation of a digital onboarding platform will be described. This paper is written based on an international cooperation project. In the summer term 2020 the Open Universiteit of the Netherlands (O-JYU), University of Jyväskylä, Finland (JYU), and the FernUniversität in Hagen, Germany (FeU) offered an international cooperation project. Thirty-six students participated. The students were divided into international mixed groups. Each group designed an interactive digital product. Within this international cooperation project the interactive digital product 100+ was developed and implemented. As the first 100 days in a new job are crucial, the product was called 100+ (Kammeyer-Müller, 2013, p. 1120). It was decided to use Howspace as a digital facilitation platform. The digital product 100+ is an interactive onboarding platform based on a blended learning approach. Due to the matter of the limited time and the broad topic of onboarding, it was decided to develop a prototype of the idea. This prototype contains already a lot of important areas of the onboarding process. It is supposed to give an insight to the possibilities Howspace can offer. In the time of onboarding, new employees are first organizational outsiders (Bauer 2010, p. 4). The aim of 100+ is to transform the outsiders to organizational insiders and to get them established in the company. During this time, the platform acts as a supportive feature.

This paper has the aim to address the following research question: How does the interactive digital media product meet the quality criteria, outlined in LORI, to support learning? In order to answer these research question, first the prototype was developed and implemented. After that evaluation and analysis took place. In more detail, the structure of this paper is based on the ADDIE model. In chapter 2 the ADDIE model is described. Chapter 3 analyses the topic, the target group and learning goals. Whereas chapter 4 focuses on the design and development. That means the focus is on the design, different theories and models and how to connect them with the results from chapter 3. The research question and the hypothesis are also introduced in chapter 4. A few important explanatory notes about the implementation are in Chapter 5. In order to answer the research question the collected data and methods are described and analysed in Chapter 6. This paper will close with a conclusion.

2 ADDIE Model

The interactive digital product 100+ was developed within an international collaborative group work. The course and group work can be structured into the different ADDIE model phases. Thus, this paper is written and structured based on this method.

The ADDIE model was first developed at the University of Florida (Branson et al. 1975, p. II). It is an instructional design model, these are used “to offer design steps, management guidelines, and options for the organization of teaching and learning materials” (Wee, 2018, p. 1). Aldoobie (2015, p.68) calls the ADDIE model as “one of the most common models used in the instructional design field”. The acronym ADDIE stands for: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation. These are the five phases of the systematic process towards an effective design (Aldoobie, 2015, p. 68). In the following text the different phases are reduced to the most important explanations:

1) Analysis: This phase focuses on the learner, the topic and learning goals
2) Design: It focuses on applying the instruction. Different theories and models are used to create an own instructional strategy.
3) Development: Here the output from Analysis and Design is integrated into the educational process and setting.
4) Implementation: This phase is about the realization of the Development plan.
5) Evaluation: It is important to evaluate the product and its process. (Aldoobie, 2015, pp. 68-72)

3 Analysis

This chapter focuses on the theoretical background on which the designed product 100+ is based. It begins with employee onboarding followed by onboarding programs. Then learning theories and educational models, which are connected to the 100+ project, are discussed in this chapter.

3.1 Employee Onboarding

Onboarding is a typical term of human resources management (Aygun, 2015, p. 161). It is an organizational socialization. Therefore, onboarding may be defined as the process of hiring and integrating new employees with the focus on the transformation from being “an outsider to productive members of the organization” (Sharma & Stol, 2019, p. 1). The focus of onboarding is on the active part on welcoming a new employee successfully in the organization (Aygun, 2015, p. 161). Even before the official start of the working contract the onboarding process starts (Aygun, 2015, pp. 165-166; Verhoeven, 2016, p. 110). There are different possibilities to stay in contact with the prospective employee. One example is suggested by Aygun (2015, p. 167) as staying in contact is important, e.g. a welcome email with information about pre-boarding should be sent. There prospective employees can take care of necessary bureaucratic parts of the onboarding process. As all time-consuming necessities are taken care of new employees are able to focus on the important topics on the first day of work.

Human resource managements in all companies must create "an effective workforce" (Srimannarayana, 2016, p. 620). “New hires bring talent, experience, skill and newer perspectives to the job” (Chillakuri, 2020, p. 14). Effective and successful onboarding programs are investments in the new employees to help them to meet their potential in the organization (Chilakuri, 2020, p. 14).

3.1.1 Onboarding Process Levels

Throughout the onboarding process new employees have a lot of things to learn and these underlie different process levels. Whereas, new employees must assimilate fast to the organizational environment, they also should learn how to contribute effectively to their new tasks (Gregory et al., 2020, p. 20). Especially employees in higher-level positions need to get up to speed fastly. As their “leadership positions are highly visible and influence the bottom line clearly” (Bauer, 2010, p. 13). An empirical based and highly cited onboarding framework was developed by Bauer (Bauer, 2010, pp.1-17). She states that onboarding has four different levels (Bauer, 2010, p. 2). These four levels are called the Four C’s:

I. Compliance: teaching "legal and policy related rules and regulations" (Bauer, 2010, p. 13).
II. Clarification: ensuring that the new employee is aware of the new job and the expectations linked to it.
III. Culture: providing employees with formal and informal organizational norms.
IV. Connection: refers to the new networks and work relationships a new employee has to establish.

By setting different priorities on these four core aspects of onboarding every organization “determines its overall onboarding strategy” (Bauer, 2010, p. 2).

3.1.2 Onboarding Programs

“Designing a successful onboarding program is a key part of any organization’s talent management and retention strategy” (Sharma & Stol, 2019, p. 14).

Many companies have no effective guidelines for the onboarding process of new employees. This underestimation of the importance of the onboarding process entails to negative consequences for the company and for the new employee (Baasner, 2020, p. 36). Baasner (2020, p. 36) reports about the consequences in one company. There the new employees did not feel welcomed enough and therefore did not develop team spirit. A Gallup study (2017, p. 36) points out that only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees.

As another consequence of an inefficient onboarding process new employees are in danger of leaving the company. A positive experience and thorough onboarding help the employees adjust and maintain motivation in the short term. In the long term it is part of the talent management in a company as it plays a role in employee retention and commitment (Divya & Gomathi, 2015, pp.49-50). "The faster new hires feel welcome and prepared for their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the firm's mission." (Bauer, 2010, p. xii).

In Shava & Stol’s study (2019, p.15) it is pointed out that a supporting environment is the key to a successful onboarding. Around 20% of staff turnover occur in the beginning of employment. Therefore, organization must develop well structured onboarding programs to be successful. That means to retain talents and to help them to be productive and contribute to the organziation’s success (Bauer, 2013, p. 3; Carucci, 2018, p. 1). Hence, orientation and training are important but have only a modest contribution to the onboarding success. Bauer (2010, p. 13) also emphasizes the importance on feedback. Therefore, regular feedback should be provided to new employees. Organizations should include information centers, meetings, engage important stakeholders to interact with new employees to improve communication and to speed up the learning curve (Bauer, 2010, pp. 15-17).

3.1.3 Onboarding Success factors

Bauer (2010, p. 4) states, that “researchers have identified four major levers (…) to maximize (…) onboarding success”. The successful onboarding process is linked to job roles and the social environment of new employees. (Bauer, 2010, p. 4). These are Bauer’s (2010, pp.4-6; Bauer, 2013, pp. 2-3) collected four major levers of success:

I. Self-efficacy: New employees should be motivated and strengthen in the conviction that they can do the job.
II. Role clarity: New employees understand expectations and their roles.
III. Social integration: New employees establish contacts, as well as integrating socially into the organization.
IV. Knowledge of culture: New employees understand and integrate themselves to company culture.

3.2 Target Group Analysis

The target group are newly hired employees of large companies in Central and Northern Europe. The target group is based on data on employee intake of different large companies (Allianz, 2019, pp. 36-41; BASF, 2019, pp. 126-130); E.ON, 2019a, p. 61; E.ON, 2019b pp. 102-105). As one example for the age structure of new employees in large European companies, 60 percent of Siemens' new employees were in the age between 18-37 (Siemens 2018, p. 35). Another example is the average age at Allianz Germany, it is 42,5 years (Allianz, 2019, p. 17). Various large companies reports show a high interest in recruiting high numbers of knowledge workers (Allianz, 2018, p. 27; BASF, 2019, p.128; E.ON, 2019a, p. 78). All of these new employees should be fully trained in company procedures regarding Bauer's (2010, p. 13) four C's. As an example of this onboarding training E.ON (2019a, p. 62) states that "new employees typically receive such training in their first year. The training is part of the onboarding process in almost all countries where E.ON operates”. Moreover, in 2018 E.ON launched eLearning modules companywide and they "also use e-learning and in-house workshops" (E.ON 2019a, p. 62). E.ON describes eLearning as "an effective, flexible, and modern way of delivering learning to employees" (E.ON 2019b, p. 93). As seen in a result onboarding and learning in large companies becomes more and more digital.

The new employees are mainly between 20-40 years old. Therefore, they belong to Generation Y and Z. These two are the two youngest workforce generations. Generation Y is also known under the term “Millenials”. Although, there are some different parameters of each generation given, it is a general consensus that all people born in between 1978 and 1995 form Generation Y (Chillakuri, 2020, p. 2; Tulgan, 2009, p. 5; Dwyer, 2008, p. 102). And Generation Z is formed by all people born in between 1995-2010. (Dwyer, 2008, p. 102; Bencisk et al., 2016, p. 92). Amongst these, the main group, the so-called knowledge workers are targeted. The term `knowledge workers´ is defined as people who have a high education or expertise and the primary purpose of their jobs is characterized by generating and applicating knowledge (Razzaq et al., 2019, p. 924; Davenport, 2005, p.10).

As employees of the target group are mainly under 40 years old and have undergone several assessments before being hired, it is assumed that they possess a degree of media literacy that enables them to use a digital platform. Bencisk et al. (2016, p. 92) also states Generation Y and Z are qualified in digital knowledge. They easily know “the use of new tools and devices in IT” (Bencisk et al. 2016, p. 92). It is also stated that Generation Y and Z mainly communicate virtually. Both generations are always online using technical devices (Bencisk et al. 2016, p. 92).

In this process it is important to create a learning cycle fitting to the needs of Genration Y and Z to exchange, integrate and utilize knowledge to create experts.

3.3 Learning Objectives

The 100+ onboarding platform is created with the aim to support and lead the onboarding process of new employees. The learning objectives set the focus for the the 100+ platform. As the Four C’s lead to successful onboarding, Bauer’s framework (Chapter 3.1.3, p. 5) was selected as basis for the following four learning objectives:

1. The new employees learn to navigate and understand the organization.
2. The new employees understand his/ her role and its expectations in the company.
3. The new employees get to know the company’s formal and informal culture.
4. The new employees establish contacts and integrates socially.

4 Design & Development

The designed onboarding platform 100+ follows a pragmatist approach. There are several aspects from different educational theories included. In the following chapter the most relevant positions and aspects for the interactive digital product 100+ are introduced. Additionally, the research question and the hypotheses are presented.

4.1 Educational Context

Learning can be defined as changes in the organism and in the behavior “that result from experiences” (De Houwer et al., 2013, p. 631). Learning depends on a lot of different factors as it is a “complex, drawn out process that seems to be strongly influenced by one’s prior knowledge” (Ertmer & Newby, 2013, p. 60). The platform follows mainly a pragmatist approach. As in design, there is an opportunity for new employers to have an input for the materials / tasks / information in the platform, educational models are used as needed. Onboarding workers are seen as actively engaging the learning process. In addition, the new employee elaborates upon and is able to interpret the given information (Ertmer & Newby, 2013, p. 60). In context of the present concept, learning is understood both as a personal and a social process (Ertmer & Newby, 2013, p. 67). The platform provides various tools to accommodate the variety of different learners’ needs. Ideally, the project is part of the blended learning approach to the on-boarding process of new employees, using an online tool in addition to face-to-face situations to support new employees as an individual as well as a group (MacDonald, 2008, p. 16). As the target group is defined as adults between 20-40 years old, some andragogy principles must be considered in the product. Knowles made the concept of andragogy popular, the field of adult education (Knowles, 1978, p.20). He distincted learning from children and adults, as pedagogy “means, literally, the art and science of teaching children” (Knowles 1980,4). Some of the crucial assumptions are:

1. Adult learners are rather internal than external motivated to learn (Knowles, 1980, p. 42).
2. Adults have already gained a lot of experience, “which form the richest resource for their learning” (Ozuah, 2005, p. 86, Knowles 1980, p. 44).
3. Adult Learners are autonomous, self-directed learners (Knowles, 1980, p. 43). They see “education as a process of developing increased competence to achieve their full potential in life” (Knowles, 1980, p.44).

In the digital product 100+ self-directed learning is assisted, as the learner’s own autonomy creates commitment. It provides an opportunity to employees to connect new learning to their prior knowledge which is a part of professional development. It gives an opportunity for reflection of the new work situations. As new employees, they are expected to have the readiness to learn and use the platform to develop their professional skills in new work environment. It supports new employees having an opportunity to experience concrete new work situations and observe and reflect experiences of older workers.

Cognitivism and Constructivism are focused on the human mind. It evolved at the end of the 1950s. Cognitive approach conceptualizes learning processes and “how information is received, organized, stored and retrieved by the mind” (Ertmer & Newby, 2013, pp.54-55). Focus is on what a learner knows and how it is acquired. Besides, focusing on real problems will support learners to learn, understand and solve a problem, “because unsolved problems create uncomfortable ambiguity for learners” (Rothwell & Sredl, 1992, pp. 335-336). Constructivism is referred to as a branch of cognitivism. It evolved in the middle of the 20th century in the theories especially from Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner and Lev Vygotski (Nunes & McPherson 2003, p. 497). It is simply said, “a theory (…) about how people learn” and mentally construct information (Bada, 2015, p. 67). Constructionists believe that learning is a result of mental construction, as it focuses on the learner’s mental activities (Bada, 2015, p.55; Bereiter, 1994, p. 21). Learning happens when knowledge is combined with an experience (Ertmer & Newby, 2013, pp. 54-55). “In other words, students learn by fitting new information together with what they already know” (Bada, 2015, p. 66). Therefore, learning is an active process that includes interaction between the learner and the environmental factors (Ertmer & Newby, 2013, p. 55). Therefore, each of the new employees will learn and acquire learning objects differently. It is important to enable different learning paces and methods of learning. In different trainings learning can be actively promoted and encouraged.

Another applied learning theory is the concept of social learning. It is based on Bandura’s social learning theory, where it is understood that persons learn effectively through observation of other’s values, behaviors and attitudes. New patterns of behavior and work are developed through direct experience or by observing others and learning from their way of living and working (Bandura, 1976, p. 22). Hence, the 100+ product must offer contact platforms and possibilities to get in contact with other new employees as well as current employees. Everyone has an appointed mentor that a new employee can learn from. Also new employees learn from the others from their team. Furthermore, different trainings promote new patterns of behaviors and work. Closely linked to getting in contact with other employees is collaborative learning. 100+ will also use collaborative learning approaches in this platform as modern work life is increasingly based on working in teams; networking, brainstorming, and distributing the workload. “Collaborative learning is often defined as two or more people working together toward a shared learning goal” (Jeong & Hmelo-Silver, 2016, p. 247). However, collaborative learning should be distinguished from cooperation, in which work is divided and later combined to a single product. In today’s digital world Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) is used. There the goal is to use technology in order to support collaboration (Jeong & Hmelo-Silver, 2016, pp. 247-248). Nowadays’ workforce, as in the target group described, always uses technical devices for work and mostly in leisure time (see Chapter 3.2, p. 6). For Generation Y and Z CSCL does not seem to be a problem, hence the 100+ product will enable new and current employees to enhance collaborative capabilities. Providing this onboarding experience for employees across departments encourages the development of communities of practise, aiding organizational development and multidisciplinary solutions.

The idea of the present project is also influenced by the cognitive apprenticeship model. The cognitive apprenticeship model has its roots in the social learning theories (Dennen & Burner 2008, p. 427). It is defined as “learning through guided experience on cognitive and metacognitive, rather than physical skills and processes” (Collins et al., 1989, p. 456). The cognitive apprenticeship model includes different fields of learner groups and settings. Within this wide span, the 100+ product focuses on the mentoring strategies. There integrative teaching is used. One common strategy, is the expert push. There the new employees will not get answers for their questions, though they will be asked returned questions to help them to find the answer (Dennen & Burner 2008, p. 431). Another issue is that the peers can be mentors for each other by “identifying on their own both their knowledge gap (…) and peers who can help them attain their learning goals” (Dennen & Burner 2008, 431). The 100+ product offers a mentoring programs, which is supposed to include these findings about mentoring and peer learning assistance. The model's key concepts are in-line with the concept of the platform: situatedness, legitimate peripheral participation, guided participation, and being a part in a community of practice (Dennen & Burner, 2008, p. 427).

Tynjälä’s (2013, p. 18) literature review highlights six factors of workplace learning: (1) Nature of workplace learning, (2) identity and agency, (3) development of professional expertise, (4) competence development, (5) communities of practice and (6) organizational learning. The 100+ product will support formal, informal and non-formal natures of workplace learning. There is an opportunity to share and learn implicit knowledge from others, being reactive and deliberate in learning. It provides a platform to learn workplace pedagogies and pedagogical practices as same time all the formal information, e.g. tools and practices, are provided. This will support the development of professional identity and agency in a new work environment. 100+ creates a digital platform to support the development of communities of practice. This will be beneficiary to the organizational learning. When expansive learning emerges, it will create innovative knowledge communities that network, distribute competencies, transform practices and create new knowledge and problem-solving (Tynjälä, 2013, p. 18).

Problem based learning will be used as a tool to engage new employees to the relevant, real-world work life challenges of their upcoming role in a particular company. It is defined as “the learning that results from the process of working toward the understanding or resolution of a problem” (Dabbagh et al., p. 60). It allows on-boarding workers to familiarize with authentic challenges in workplace to which they are required to propose relevant solutions. This product can be used for e.g. case-based instructions which can facilitate on-boarding workers to gain relevant company-specific knowledge and skills.

4.2 Howspace

Howspace is a digital facilitation platform (Howspace, n.d., p. 8). Howspace describes itself as a “digital collaboration for human-centered activities”. (Howspace 2020, n.p.). The distinction to “other online collaboration tools and social networks (…) [is] that facilitators can guide the conversation and empower individuals to use the platform to drive deep change” (Howspace, n.d., p. 15). Howspace can be used in many different ways, Liimatainen (2020b, n.p.) gives examples for what it might be used: strategy and board work, open training, online courses, service development and even more. Howspace offers so many different ways of use due to the variety of combined tools, used as widgets and underlying concepts that are used. The concept of AI, artificial intelligence, is also used for dialogue. AI summaries such as theme clustering, writing a summary or a word cloud generation (Liimatainen, 2020a, n.p.).

4.3 Research Question and Hypotheses

This term paper is motivated by the following research question: How does the interactive digital media product meet the quality criteria, outlined in LORI, to support learning? Due to the limited time of the international cooperation project course, the research question was set by the universities.

The LORI questionnaire is based on eight dimensions, these dimensions build up the quality criteria for learning objects (see Chapter 6.1, pp.13-14; Leacock and Nesbit 2007, p. 44). Nesbit et al. (2006, p.4) identified the quality criterias to rate learning objects. In the event of a high score in each dimension, one can safely assume that the digital media product supports learning.

This term paper offers two hypotheses:

(0) The interactive digital media product 100+ does not meet the minimum quality criteria.
(1) The interactive digital media product 100+ does meet the minimum quality criteria.

5 Implementation

In this course only a prototype of the planned 100+ onboarding platform was realized. Howspace was chosen as the digital tool for the onboarding platform. By using the results from the analysis, design, and development the 100+ onboarding platform was created (Appendix A, p.30) With the help of different widgets several prototype pages for the onboarding platform 100+ were created (Appendix A, p. 30; Appendix B, p.31). To not have any conflicts regarding the image rights only CC0 licensed pictures were used.

The 100+ onboarding platform accompanies new employees on their way to become an organizational insider. The platform is designed especially for the first 100 days. A specific timeline for the onboarding member is planned and the different pages, trainings or widgets will only open at a specific time or after something else was successfully completed. In Appendix B (p. 31) the planned timeline for the onboarding can be seen. And in Appendix C (p.32) the storyline out of the new employees point of view is shown.


Excerpt out of 43 pages


Instructional Design: Creating an interactive digital product for education
University of Hagen
Modul 3 - Entwicklung und Evaluation von digitalen Medien
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
Hausarbeit zur Evaluation eines digitalen Prototyps im Rahmen des internationalen Kooperationsprojekts an der FernUniversität in Hagen im Modul 3. Hierbei wurde das Tool Howspace genutzt. Dabei wurde ein Onboarding Prototyp entwickelt und evaluiert. Anzumerken ist, dass die Dozenten bemängelt haben, dass das Tool an sich zu wenig vorgestellt wurde und dass die vorgestellten Theorien am Ende im Fazit zu wenig aufgegriffen wurden. Die Hausarbeit ist in englischer Sprache verfasst.
Evaluation digitaler Medien, Kooperationsprojekt, eEducation, Modul 3, MABM, Master Bildung und Medien
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Julia Meier (Author), 2020, Instructional Design: Creating an interactive digital product for education, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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