Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Lessons from Wii Fit

We visited some friends over the holidays and they were lucky enough to secure the Wii Fit balance board. Nintendo, the makers of this device, have been having difficulties keeping up with the demand for this nifty game. It plays with the Wii console, hooks up to a TV, and allows users to perform various physical exercises on it (e.g. balance games, yoga, aerobic, and strength training) and see their results on the screen.

Six adults managed to spend an entire afternoon engaged in various activities on this device. Instead of the usual holiday pursuits of over eating and imbibing, we were exercising and having a ball. As we headed home later that night, I started thinking about the genius that lies behind Wii Fit and the lessons it can teach those of us in the business of eLearning.

Personalized and Goal-Based

You enter in your own personal information (apparently I am a little short for my weight), set your own goals around fitness, and can monitor your progress over time.

There is built in motivation as you can earn "Fit Credits" which allow you access to even more activities as you progress.

You can compete against yourself (trying to meet your own goals) and/or compete against others for added motivation.

Coaching and Immediate Feedback

There are virtual coaches who explain how everything works and provide immediate feedback on your performance, along with some encouragement along the way.


You can spend as much or as little time as you would like on the various exercises, investing time as you have it.

Simple, Intuitive Navigation

Six adults in their 40s and 50s did not have to once ask a child how the system works. A simple screen layout, along with helpful audio and visual prompts throughout, made for an easily-understood interface.

Hard Fun

The activities are fun, but not necessarily easy. They push you to perform. In fact, as you progress and earn more points, the activities become more challenging. This is as it should be as you begin mastering any task.

Of course, most of us do not have millions of dollars in development money to spend on our eLearning projects. However, that is not the point. You may not be able to equal the production value of the Wii Fit, but there are real lessons to be taken away regarding how to make learning personalized, motivational, supported, flexible, intuitive, fun and challenging.


Anonymous Cheryl McNeil said...

What a great take-away from a Wii Fit session! All the points you mentioned contribute to a more customized and better e-learning experience. I liked your thoughts on fun but challenging learning. Most people enjoy challenges.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Paulo said...

I think a great deal of Wii Fit's success is their ability to disguise various forms of exercising as fun and challenging games. Teachers should be able to take the points you expressed in your article and apply them to their everyday classes. If teachers can successfully disguise learning as an interactive game, both teacher and students can benefit from it.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous vtlau said...

The learning specialist has a lot to learn from the game designers...especially Miyamoto San...

11:04 PM  

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