You can find inspiration anywhere. Last week I found mine on a quest to free a wizard. Yes, you heard me. A wizard.

To be fair, I had a lot of help from my husband and daughter. We recently took a family trip to Wisconsin, where we enjoyed good food, theater, nature, a water park, and a few thrill rides. But one of the highlights was Wizard Quest, which incorporates a story-driven computer game into a hands-on adventure in a 13,000-square-foot “wonderland.”

We started out being good sports for the sake of our daughter’s birthday, but in no time, we were completely immersed in the experience. And we had an absolute blast.

What made wizard questing so fun, even for two adults?

It was all about the challenge of exploration, the thrill of discovery, and the surprise and delight of finding secret passages and hidden treasures.

And we could choose from various options and pathways throughout the process – an excellent way to keep us interacting with the quest.

After we chose the difficulty level and determined what wizard from what realm we were going to rescue, we headed out, Kindle tablet in hand. We began by exploring our chosen realm to find the specific tools necessary for our quest. Once we had them all, we were given four tasks to complete. Through a series of fill-in-the-blank questions, multiple-choice quizzes, and riddles, the Kindle guided us to various places to obtain answers, cleverly hidden in plain sight. Each answer contributed sequentially to our success. When we chose wrong, we got feedback.

All of this engaged us immediately in the quest without overwhelming us.

We weren’t competing against other groups, so that alleviated some potential stress. We had a time frame for completing the quest and a “compass” if we got lost. And we could reach out to a guide for hints when we were stuck. We even had a black light flashlight to reveal disguised messages and riddles.

Seriously, what’s not to like?

Besides the awesome family adventure, I’m inspired by this experience. Consequently, I’ve been reflecting on how important these Wizard Quest elements are to learning in general, and how we can incorporate them into eLearning.

So, how can we capitalize on these discovery concepts when designing eLearning?

  • Keep the learner in control, whenever possible.
  • Provide clear instructions.
  • Guide the learner through hints and suggestions, but without giving the answers directly.
  • Build in freedom and flexibility; whenever feasible, let the learner choose a pathway through the course based on her or his own interests and needs.
  • Make the course as process-oriented as possible; encourage problem-solving and critical thinking rather than fact memorization.
  • Use real-world scenarios and storytelling to engage the learner’s curiosity and increase retention.
  • Develop lessons in short bursts that allow the learner to expand on prior knowledge in stages.
  • Allow for failure.
  • Provide feedback.

I’m excited about the possibilities ahead. And I encourage you to free some “wizards” and continue the quest for making learning fun and lasting. Have some inspiration of your own to share (wizard-driven or otherwise)? I’d love to hear from you.

EPI's CEO and founder, Michelle Kelly

Michelle Kelly, CEO (Chief Enjoyment Officer)

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