Forward-Thinking Learning

About Quest Forward Learning

Teens will face a rapidly changing job market and economic circumstances that will require them to be nimble, adaptable problem solvers when they graduate. And yet, most high schools do not prepare them for that future. Instead, students are mostly trained to take tests to show the results of memorization, resulting in a student that fails to realize their potential.

Opportunity Education supports schools with Quest Forward Learning, offering a bold alternative: a high school program that engages students in active learning through discovery and problem solving, enabling them to gain the skills they need to succeed in the future. Quest Forward Learning powers dozens of Quest Forward Schools globally, as well as two Quest Forward Academies that implement Quest Forward Learning at the highest level.

Opportunity Education Founder and CEO Joe Ricketts

The Vision: Students Capable to Achieve their Dreams

Quest Forward Learning realizes the vision of Opportunity Education’s founder, billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist Joe Ricketts, for a better way for young adults to learn and succeed. In today’s rapidly changing economies, young people need a growth mindset, well-practiced habits that enable them to learn and work effectively, and the skills to understand the world, solve problems, and make an impact.

Quest Forward Learning gives high schools around the world the tools they need to offer a high-quality education to their students that meets academic standards and provides daily opportunities for mindset, habits, and skills growth.

Principles for Effective Learning

Quest Forward Learning courses are project-based, enabling students to practice the real-world skills they will need in higher education and career. The courses include the materials a high school needs to implement Quest Forward Learning, including competence-based assessments that provide students, parents, and teachers continuous reporting on student activity, growth, and performance.

Each course is designed using Opportunity Education’s 5 Guiding Principles, drawn from research on effective student engagement, learning, and long-term success.

Recognizing that each student brings different abilities, interests, and skills, Quest Forward Learning puts the student in charge, with the active, guiding support of their teachers.

When students learn actively, through discovery, collaboration, and meaningful work, they practice skills they will use for the rest of their lives.

Quest Forward Learning Focuses on 3 Key Abilities

Instead of pushing content memorization and testing, Quest Forward Learning engages students in real-world, relevant problems, giving them opportunities to practice the mindset, habits, and skills they will need to achieve their dreams.


A Quest Forward Academy Omaha student smiles while writing on the whiteboard in class.

Growth Mindset

Students learn to learn and understand that their ability to learn new habits and skills will drive their success long-term.

Essential Habits

Students practice 6 Essential Habits, which enable them to learn more effectively, work well with others, overcome setbacks, and meet the challenges of tomorrow. 

Learning Skills

Each academic course enables students to practice 5 skills groups, which are reinforced across academic subjects and years. Skills include analysis, reasoning, communication, and more.

Quests and Courses

Each academic subject covers four or more years of study, organized into courses, which in turn consist of a large collection of “quests.” A quest is a project that offers discovery learning, and asks students to produce a work product, or “artifact,” to demonstrate their learning and skills growth. Students work on required core quests, as well as optional choice quests, which ensure that each student’s course of study is personalized to their pacing, abilities, and interests. 

Each quest focuses the student on practicing particular skills, giving students opportunities for deep individual thought and close teamwork with their peers.

A laptop displays a quest about building bridges.


Testing dominates the experience of students at other high schools, and the research is clear: tests and grades rarely improve learning and growth, but instead teach students to focus on short-term, externally-defined requirements. Quest Forward Learning offers an alternative that combines rigorous performance assessment with support for learning and growth.

Quest Forward Learning teachers assess students in 3 primary ways:

1. Engagement: Teachers observe each student’s engagement in all class periods. These scores are used as high-frequency, low-stakes impressions that help teachers and students improve the value of classroom time.

2. Artifacts: When students complete an artifact, their teachers evaluate it in four ways: learning, timeliness, effort, and support needed. The resulting scores are used to provide feedback to the student for targeted growth in specific areas, and focus on both the learning outcomes and on the learning process.

3. Skills: Teachers also assess a student’s competence on skills, demonstrated by the artifact. Skill competence is scored as Not Familiar, Familiar, Developing, Proficient, and Mastering.

Innovative Learning Technology

Opportunity Education has developed a suite of technology tools to support students and teachers in their work. The Quest! app, available in both web and mobile versions, enables students to work through quests and courses at their own pace, checking in with their teachers as needed. The app also enables teachers to support students in and out of the classroom, and reflects the details of student growth and performance. 

Support for Years After High School

All students enrolled in a Quest Forward Academy or School have access to the Pathways Program, a support program offered by Opportunity Education. Students join the Pathways Program when they enroll at a Quest Forward Academy or Quest Forward School, and participate through high school into their choice of college, trade school, the military, or a job with training opportunities, and until they are settled into their chosen career.

The Pathways Program offers students career and college counseling each year in high school, supported by detailed career and personality exploration activities. Pathways also engages students in real-world internships in local organizations and businesses, to ensure students gain useful experiences before selecting a trade or college education, a job, or a military career.

Since the Pathways Program engages students from all schools using Quest Forward Learning worldwide, young adults also become part of a global network of capable problem solvers and value creators, who share a similar mindset, habits, and skills.

Participation in Pathways opens each student’s perspective on their future much wider than most high schools currently do, and ensures young adults identify a path for their own future that aligns with their purpose and dreams.

Download Pathways Overview

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