Easter eggs. Do visions of chocolate dance in your head? Sorry. That’s not the kind of Easter Eggs I’m talking about. These ones are much more intriguing not to mention much easier on your waistline.
But first a question.
How many items do you see in this picture?
Curiousity may have killed the cat but it’s a trainer’s best friend. If you can get your participants curious, they’ll automatically work hard to satisfy their curiosity. And that’s where Easter Eggs come in.
What are Easter Eggs, the kind we use in training?
The concept of Easter eggs comes from gamification, which is not, as many people think, using games in education. Gamification is taking what makes online gaming so popular and applying that to training. Gamification can mean using games, but it doesn’t have to. It can mean using Easter Eggs.
“The term “Easter egg” was first used in 1979 for a secret message hidden in the Atari game, Adventure, found only a year after the game had been released.
Players had to go to a sealed chamber, find the “Gray Dot” (which, in reality, was invisible since the background was gray), bring it to a specific corridor in the castle, and combine it with other differently coloured objects, all so that they could unlock a hidden room, where they would discover the words “Created by Warren Robinett.” Source: Future Learn
Why you should use Easter Eggs in your training
The benefits are many.
- Using Easter Eggs raises participant’s intrigue and curiosity. Have you ever finished a long day at work and even though you’re exhausted, you stayed up way too late watching a crappy show because you wanted to figure out who the murderer was, if the couple got together etc? That’s your brain filing the knowledge gap (as the Heath brothers) say) in other words, satisfying its curiosity.
- Easter Eggs give participants a sense of surprise and delight. Who doesn’t enjoy a fun mystery to solve?
- Using the Heath brothers concept from their wonderful book “The Power of Moments” Easter Eggs are E.P.I.C They can Elevate the moment, bring a sense of Pride, give Insight and give us a sense of Connection. And E.P.I.C. leads to fabulously epic learning.
Here’s an example of an Easter Egg
I used the above image of me holding a piece of paper in a recent workshop I taught on global leadership for youth climate change-makers. During the workshop, we discussed how many items they saw. The numbers ranged widely depending on what was counted. For example, are you counting my fingers, the individual lines etc.?
But the Easter Egg came in AFTER the workshop ended. In a follow-up email I guided them back to the image and asked if they could see another image, a number. Can you see it?
The number related to one of the seventeen United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. I told the group that whoever emailed me first with the correct number and which SDG it related to won a prize.
Voila! An Easter Egg.
Examples of how you can use Easter Eggs in your next training
- Hide an Easter Egg in the form of a symbol. In my Life Lenses® online assessment, two of the eight lenses are Carrot and Mountain lenses. I chose these symbols because when you put the two triangle shapes together when they’re not working well it represents sharp sticking points. >< However, when you flip them, they form a diamond, which symbolizes diversity working well together. <>
- Who gets excited about filling in course surveys? Not most people. That’s why I hide an Easter Egg at the end of mine. I tell participants they’ll get a little surprise at the end of the survey after filling it in. Here’s one example of what they’ll see.
- When I’m introducing myself to new workshop participants, I always include my bio, but I also include the line, “For more information click here and be sure to roll your mouse over my picture for a surprise.”
- Hide something in a powerpoint slide like the SDG goal above.
- Make a spotify playlist where the song titles have a hidden meaning. This woman did that to ask someone out on a date! Do the same only for learning content.
- On one of your handouts, arrange the paragraphs so that the first letter of each paragraph spells a secret word related to your training.
Easter Eggs are a simple, engaging way to make your trainings have more impact, to raise the curiosity of your participants and have some fun along the way. The sky’s the limit to what you can do with Easter Eggs. Go on and try some.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead
- What number do you see in the Easter Egg example above, the picture of me holding a piece of paper and which SDG is it?
- Here’s an example of someone thinking there’s an Easter Egg when there isn’t.
- Try embedding an Easter Egg or two in your next training and let me know how it goes.
P.S. Curious to know more about your worldview and perspective? Check out my Life Lense® online assessment.