Why Using Fantasy in Elearning is Magic

Fantasy in E-learning

Quote from Ray Bradbury: “The ability to fantasise is the ability to survive.”

As the majority of your workforce are likely to be Millennials or younger, chances are they enjoy gaming in one form or another. In role playing games, fantasy and sci-fi are hugely popular, with many spawning numerous sequels, prequels and spinoffs. If escaping reality through gaming is a national pastime, training content developers should take note by including fantasy in elearning modules.

Motivated to Train

Just as kids in school are enthusiastic about fantasy-based elearning games, employees will be more likely to complete a training module if they know they can suspend reality while they do it. While real-life scenarios definitely have their place such as with compliance training, elearning that’s designed to improve skills and knowledge could be set in an alternative universe or historical setting.


Fantasy in elearning can stimulate creativity by making trainees think of clever ways to solve problems. How a player interacts with characters and the psychological choices h/she makes are skills that can be transferred to the workplace to help, say, clinch a big sales deal. Provoking emotional responses also helps to promote logical thinking.

Safe to Explore – Safe to Fail

Because they’re acquiring new skills or using existing skills in a fantasy setting, trainees will feel completely safe and relaxed to explore and test what they can do. If they don’t pass a challenge the first time, they should feel more inclined to try again. Regardless of how outlandish the scenario, employees will be able to apply old knowledge to understand new things. 

Necessary Elements

According to research carried out by Dr. Thomas W. Malone (1981), the game elements that are needed to engage a player are challenge, curiosity and fantasy.

  • Challenge is realised through setting goals. As each goal is achieved, self-esteem and motivation increase. Hopefully the employee will feel the same in his actual role.
  • Curiosity deals with what the player experiences with the senses (how realistic the setting is, prompting exploration) and the quest for knowledge (cognitive).
  • Fantasy is most effective when the content has an innate relationship to the scenario. This will maximise engagement; being fully immersed in the fantasy will increase retention.

And of course the most important element of this type of training is interactivity, which makes it compelling.

Collaboration and Competition

Promote social learning by making it possible for other trainees to collaborate – just as gamers connect with their player communities online. Not only does fantasy in elearning develop necessary skills for working with colleagues, it can introduce a competitive element. This can be further amplified by using gamification rewards such as points or vouchers.

A Virtual Break

Work can be stressful, so what better way to give your employees a break than letting them escape their everyday worries through gaming? They can work on their personal and professional development – but almost on a subconscious level. Training happens in the guise of entertaining pastime in an imaginary world. According to Julius E. Eitington’s book, The Winning Trainer, the use of fantasy in training can reduce stress and energise.

Provided it’s done well, your employees should be motivated to complete elearning modules created in a game format. Catering for the needs of the Millennial workforce should increase contentment and retention.