After spending several weeks thinking about quest-based learning and how it can transform a classroom, while also beginning to design a literature-based curriculum, I've found the concept to be life transforming - at least, my teacher life.
The benefit of allowing student's some choice is clearly one of the best perks. First, it motivates a teacher to think outside the box a bit. Sometimes, because of the way things are, teachers get caught up in the one-size-fits-all approach to teaching. Textbooks, papers, multiple choice tests. With the opportunity to design a curriculum in a quest-based world, teachers can focus their creative juices into designing other options to teach similar content. This is one of the most exciting parts for me!
I have already begun to design a literature unit for fourth grade, based around Percy Jackson which is a read-aloud I like to do with the students. The theme is an easy tie-in with fourth grade literature standards involving the Greek myths and language. I love the freedom I've felt in designing interesting lessons, various modes of presentation, and different ways to prove knowledge. I can see myself branching out into science and social studies curriculum, which is often these days left out of mainstream teaching due to time restraints. However, with a completely online approach, it becomes much more accessible.
An important aspect to game-based learning is the failure. In so many instances at school, students are conditioned to hate the word: fail. If they score a bad enough grade, they get an F, which stands for Fail. Sometimes, the grade is just a P (pass) or F (fail). Fail is bad. It is a symbol for NOT learning. That's what schools have conditioned children to feel.
In order for quest-based learning to succeed, students have to be attracted to the design and willing to participate. One way to do this is to allow for choice. The choices themselves must be attractive also. If none of the choices are appealing to a student, why do they care to choose them? I feel that a good way to approach this idea is by creating quests that channel the different learning styles. The same goal can be reached by several different routes.