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In addition to being a well-liked form of recreation, escape rooms have drawn the attention of educators due to their ability to foster teamwork, leadership, creative thinking and communication in a way that is engaging for students. As a consequence, educational escape rooms are emerging as a new type of learning activity under the promise of enhancing students’ learning through highly engaging experiences. These activities consist of escape rooms that incorporate course materials within their puzzles in such a way that students are required to master these materials in order to succeed. Although several studies have reported on the use of escape rooms in a wide range of disciplines, prior research falls short of addressing the use of educational escape rooms for teaching programming, one of the most valuable skills of the twenty-first century that students often have difficulties grasping. This paper reports on the use of an educational escape room in a programming course at a higher education institution and provides, for the first time, insights on the instructional effectiveness of using educational escape rooms for teaching programming. The results of this work show that appropriate use of educational escape rooms can have significant positive impacts on student engagement and learning in programming courses. These results also suggest that students prefer these activities over traditional computer laboratory sessions. Finally, another novel contribution of this paper is a set of recommendations and proposals for educators in order to help them create effective educational escape rooms for teaching programming.
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Received February 12, 2019, accepted February 25, 2019, date of publication March 4, 2019, date of current version March 25, 2019.
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/ACCESS.2019.2902976
Examining the Use of an Educational Escape
Room for Teaching Programming in
a Higher Education Setting
Departamento de Ingeniería Telemática, ETSI Telecomunicación, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Corresponding author: Sonsoles López-Pernas (
ABSTRACT In addition to being a well-liked form of recreation, escape rooms have drawn the attention
of educators due to their ability to foster teamwork, leadership, creative thinking, and communication in a
way that is engaging for students. As a consequence, educational escape rooms are emerging as a new type
of learning activity under the promise of enhancing students’ learning through highly engaging experiences.
These activities consist of escape rooms that incorporate course materials within their puzzles in such a
way that students are required to master these materials in order to succeed. Although several studies have
reported on the use of escape rooms in a wide range of disciplines, prior research falls short of addressing the
use of educational escape rooms for teaching programming, one of the most valuable skills of the twenty-
first century that students often have difficulties grasping. This paper reports on the use of an educational
escape room in a programming course at a higher education institution and provide, for the first time, insights
on the instructional effectiveness of using educational escape rooms for teaching programming. The results
of this paper show that appropriate use of educational escape rooms can have significant positive impacts
on student engagement and learning in programming courses. These results also suggest that students prefer
these activities over traditional computer laboratory sessions. Finally, another novel contribution of this paper
is a set of recommendations and proposals for educators in order to help them create effective educational
escape rooms for teaching programming.
INDEX TERMS Computer science education, educational escape rooms, educational technology,
engineering education.
In recent years, escape rooms have become one of the
leading leisure activities around the globe [1]. According
to [2], escape rooms can be defined as ‘‘live-action team-
based games where players discover clues, solve puzzles, and
accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to accomplish
a specific goal (usually escaping from the room) in a limited
amount of time’’. In addition to being a well-liked form of
recreation, escape rooms have drawn the interest of educators
due to their ability to foster valuable skills such as teamwork,
leadership, creative thinking, and communication [3]–[8].
It may come as no surprise that educational institutions have
started to integrate these initiatives into their programs, using
The associate editor coordinating the review of this manuscript and
approving it for publication was Laxmisha Rai.
escape rooms for educational purposes. Some instructors
have taken one step further and created educational escape
rooms, which can be defined as: ‘‘escape rooms that include
part of the course materials within their puzzles in such a way
that students are required to master these materials in order to
solve the puzzles and succeed in the escape room’’.
Although one may presume that escape rooms are most
suitable for the earlier stages of education, this sort of
gamified experience is regarded as an attraction mainly for
adults [2], making it a perfect fit for students in higher edu-
cation. Several studies have reported on successful uses of
educational escape rooms in a wide range of disciplines, espe-
cially in STEM courses [9]–[20]. Nevertheless, prior research
falls short of addressing students’ perceptions of using edu-
cational escape rooms for teaching one of the most valuable
skills of the twenty-first century: programming. Insights on
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S. López-Pernas et al.: Examining the Use of an Educational Escape Room for Teaching Programming
this hot topic would be of great help to better understand
the benefits of using this kind of activities in programming
courses, especially considering that many students find pro-
gramming difficult to learn, as evidenced by the high failure
rates that programming courses usually have [21].
This paper presents the results of a pilot experience of an
educational escape room conducted in a programming course
at a higher education institution. The educational escape room
was designed to be used in large-enrollment programming
courses. It featured a wide range of puzzles that incorpo-
rated programming challenges and combined both digital and
physical resources, creating a multitudinous hybrid experi-
ence. A survey was conducted after the activity in order to
collect students’ opinions in terms of engagement, educa-
tional value, and design of the educational escape room. The
results of this survey provide, for the first time, insights on the
instructional effectiveness of using educational escape rooms
in programming courses. Another unique contribution of this
paper is a detailed set of recommendations for educators
to help them create effective educational escape rooms for
teaching programming.
The present paper is organized as follows. Existing liter-
ature on educational escape rooms is reviewed in the next
section. Section III includes a comprehensive explanation of
the designed educational escape room. Section IV explains
how the educational escape room experience was evaluated.
Section Vshows and discusses the results obtained from this
evaluation, and Section VI outlines the lessons learned from
conducting the educational escape room and provides a set
of recommendations for creating similar activities. Lastly,
Section VII finishes with the conclusions of the paper and
an outlook on future work.
Because of the novelty of the concept of escape room, there is
a paucity of research examining the use of educational escape
rooms as well as the application of non-educational escape
rooms in educational settings. There are a number of cases
of demonstrated success in conducting educational escape
rooms in higher education in the fields of nursing [9], [10],
medicine [11], [12], pharmacy [13]–[16], physiotherapy [17],
chemistry [18], computer networks [19], and mathemat-
ics [20]. However, to the knowledge of the authors, no works
have been reported in the computer programming field.
In addition to the previous ones, there have been other initia-
tives targeted to college students that foster informal learning
such as earthquake-preparedness [22], or as a welcome activ-
ity for students to get to know institutional services [23], [24].
Some instructors have also conducted purely leisure escape
rooms (whose puzzles do not integrate any educational
content) with the sole aim of practising soft skills such as
teamwork, leadership and communication [6], [7].
In most documented experiences of educational escape
rooms, students form teams of 3-8 people and are given
a limited time (usually one hour) to complete a series of
puzzles and ‘‘break out’’ of a room, either literally or in
a symbolic manner. Some works in the existing litera-
ture target groups with a reduced number of students,
enabling the participation of all the students at the same time
(e.g. [9], [12], [19]). When targeting large groups, some
instructors were confronted with the necessity of conducting
the activity in multiple time slots [10], [15], [20], [23], thus
demanding a considerable investment of time and effort on
the part of faculty members. Little research has been con-
ducted to address the challenges of performing escape rooms
in large-enrollment courses, allowing groups with numerous
students to participate simultaneously. Among the few works
that have addressed this topic are [13] and [14]. Designing
an educational escape room to be conducted in a single ses-
sion allows to significantly reduce the time investment when
running the event, although this possibility is subject to the
availability of a space that can fit all students concurrently
and a sufficient number of faculty members, knowledgeable
of the course materials and puzzle solutions, that can super-
vise the activity. This challenge is heightened in the case of
escape rooms in which students need individual or per team
equipment; for instance, in escape rooms that require students
to use computers [14], portable devices [8] or virtual reality
gear [4], [25].
One of the main challenges for escape room designers
is to devise an interesting narrative and to build a series
of puzzles that line up with it [2]. Generally, these puzzles
require no special knowledge or skills, although sometimes
they may include pop-culture references related to the theme
of the room. Some examples of puzzles include search-
ing for hidden objects, solving word puzzles, deciphering
codes, or assembling physical objects [2]. In the case of
educational escape rooms, the challenge of building puzzles
becomes more complex for teachers [14], since they also
have to integrate course materials within them in such a way
that students only succeed in the escape room by mastering
such materials. Therefore, teachers need to create puzzles
that fit seamlessly within the narrative of the escape room
while covering the key competencies taught in the course.
Various types of puzzles used in educational escape rooms
have been reported in the literature, including puzzles that
require students to calculate medication dosages [9], [13],
analyze lab results [11], perform chemical experiments [18],
make use of mathematical software [20], decipher encrypted
information and sniff network traffic [19]. In view of these
previous experiences, the nature of the puzzles used in edu-
cational escape rooms seems to be highly dependent on the
subject area.
Another key challenge for creating an escape room is to
adjust the difficulty level of the puzzles, which is not an easy
undertaking for escape room designers [2]. This challenge
is even more complex in educational puzzles, where this
adjustment needs to be done by taking into account both the
difficulty to understand the puzzle mechanics and the diffi-
culty to master the course materials. In educational escape
rooms, complexity plays a crucial role in the success of the
experience, since exceedingly easy puzzles will soon bore
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S. López-Pernas et al.: Examining the Use of an Educational Escape Room for Teaching Programming
students whereas, if the difficulty level is set too high, it can
lead to frustration or even anxiety [13]. The majority of prior
works did not provide information about the success rate for
educational escape rooms (i.e. what percentage of students
solved all the puzzles before the time runs out). Some of them
reported that none of the students was capable of breaking
out of the room in time [13], whereas, at the other end of the
spectrum, others stated that all of them did [11]. This type
of data is essential in order to evaluate the difficulty of the
activity with a view to modulate it for subsequent editions.
None of the previous studies on the topic set out to determine
which success rate results in an optimal trade-off between
boredom and frustration. Existing literature on gamification
(e.g. [26]) proposes to follow Csikszentmihalyi’s flow the-
ory [27], which suggests maintaining the players in a total
immersion state in which they are neither overchallenged
nor underchallenged. An approach that is also suggested
consists of increasing the difficulty from one puzzle to the
next one [28]. Being stuck at the very first puzzle can be very
discouraging for escape room participants. On the contrary,
if the bottleneck is on one of the last puzzles, the feeling of
frustration is not the same, since it has been preceded by an
adrenaline rush from solving all the previous ones.
Another disregarded topic in the literature is the man-
agement of hints and communication between students and
instructors in educational escape rooms. Research papers that
addressed this topic reported that either hints were provided
on demand when students got stuck [19], [20] or when
instructors considered it necessary [10]. Other popular alter-
natives consist in distributing a limited number of hint
cards upon which the students can draw to get assis-
tance [15], [13], or applying a time penalty every time they
call for help [17], [9]. Most works reported that faculty
members supervised students throughout the course of the
activity by being present in the same space, although some
of them actually involved students being alone in a locked
room. The latter approach often included video vigilance to
monitor the activity [15], [19], or even walkie-talkies to allow
communication between students and instructors [19].
When addressing students’ perceptions of educational
escape rooms, prior studies found that students enjoyed par-
ticipating and, at the same time, they considered them a
valuable learning experience [10], [13], [15]. Previous studies
also found that students prefer educational escape rooms over
regular classroom experiences [14], [15]. Other interesting
findings of one of these works [15] are that educational escape
rooms can help students learn from their peers and see the
course materials from a different perspective. It should be
remarked that no article was found in the literature examin-
ing the effect on students’ perceptions of using educational
escape rooms in programming courses. This specific applica-
tion of educational escape rooms poses additional challenges
for instructors since learning programming is hard for many
students [21] and usually involves using digital resources
which can be complex to integrate into these immersive
This section explains in detail the educational escape room
that we conducted in a programming course at a higher
education institution.
The course in which the educational escape room was con-
ducted is part of the Bachelor’s Degree in Telecommuni-
cations Engineering from UPM (Universidad Politécnica de
Madrid), and it is a fourth-year elective taken by students
majoring in Telematics that accounts for 6 ECTS (European
Credit Transfer System) credits, equivalent to 150-180 hours
of student work. One of the main blocks of this programming
course is about front-end development, in which students
review the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and learn
React [29], Redux [30] and React Native [31]. React is a
JavaScript library for building web user interfaces. React
Native is a framework that allows building native mobile
applications using React. Lastly, Redux is a JavaScript library
for handling the application state that can be used with React
and React Native, among other technologies. The aim of the
conducted educational escape room was to reinforce the most
important concepts covered in this block of the programming
The main motivation of the course staff for introducing
the educational escape room was to increase the low pass
rate (56%) that this block of the subject had in the previous
year through an activity capable of successfully engaging stu-
dents. During this block, theory lectures are interspersed with
2-hour computer lab sessions aimed at helping students
enhance their programming skills, review the main concepts
and dispel doubts. Instead of conducting an additional lab
session to try to increase students’ academic performance,
the course staff decided to organize an educational escape
room seeking a more motivating activity that yields tanta-
mount learning effectiveness.
The educational escape room was offered to all the stu-
dents of the course as an optional but graded activity. It was
not mandatory for students to participate, but it counted
around 5% toward the final grade of the front-end develop-
ment block. The activity was graded on a scale of 0 to 10.
Students who attended the escape room earned 7 points just
for participating in it and, in addition, those who were capable
of successfully solving all the puzzles in time were given
the 3 remaining points. The educational escape room was
conducted in December 2018, a few days prior to the final
exam. Of the 136 students enrolled in the course, a total
of 124 attended the educational escape room. This figure rep-
resents around 91% of the students enrolled in the course and
nearly 98% of the students who took the final exam of this
block of the course.
The educational escape room was conceived as a hybrid
experience in which students had to solve a combination of
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computer-based and physical puzzles in a limited amount
of time while immersed in an engaging narrative (which is
detailed in section III-C). The puzzles of the escape room
were arranged in a sequence in such a way that each puzzle
unlocked the next one (section III-D describes each of the
puzzles used in detail). Thus, students were required to solve
the puzzles in a specific order. Using puzzles that follow a
sequential path is a common schema for escape rooms [2],
as it requires the whole team to engage in the puzzles simulta-
neously. This is preferable from a pedagogical point of view,
since it demands that all students work on the entirety of
the concepts covered in the escape room. In escape rooms
for teaching programming, this schema also promotes taking
advantage of the benefits of pair programming [32], [33] if
students are tied in pairs. Moreover, sequential escape rooms
are often easier since they require less guidance, thus making
it simpler for students to progress. These escape rooms also
allow the course staff to track the activity in a more simple
and accurate way since the progress and performance of all
students can be measured more easily. The designed educa-
tional escape room combined computer-based and physical
puzzles. Digital puzzles may require students to understand,
write and/or execute programming code in real time, thus
allowing for more complex challenges to test and improve
their programming skills, whereas physical puzzles are of
great help for enhancing both the immersion of the experience
and student engagement. The aim of combining both types of
puzzles was to create a highly engaging activity for teaching
programming without compromising its educational value.
In educational escape rooms, it is essential to prevent
students from getting stuck at one puzzle for too long.
Otherwise, students can get bored, frustrated or even angry.
In addition, this may be detrimental from the pedagogical
point of view since it keeps students from attempting all the
puzzles. As mentioned before, in order to deal with this issue,
educational escape rooms generally give hints on demand
when students get stuck or when instructors consider it appro-
priate, sometimes applying time penalties. In this experience,
we decided on an innovative approach for managing hints.
Instead of giving hints for free or at the cost of a time penalty,
we decided to adopt an approach in which students have to
earn the right to get help from the instructors by passing a
small quiz delivered through a web application. This quiz is
comprised of five questions on the course content randomly
selected from a pool of questions from past exams, questions
from a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) developed by
UPM, and new questions added by the teachers. Students
have to get at least four out of five answers right in order
to receive help from the instructors. Students can attempt to
solve quizzes as many times as they wish through the hint
application. Therefore, after passing a quiz and getting a hint,
students can try to pass another one in order to get a new
hint. Although there is no limit to the number of hints a stu-
dent can demand, this approach does not lend itself to allow
continuous help requests, since earning a hint requires an
investment of time, a scarce resource during an escape room.
Furthermore, this approach fosters that students review the
theoretical content of the course, complementing the prac-
tical programming skills the escape room aims to improve.
An interesting feature of the hint application developed is
that the pool of questions can be easily modified through
a configuration file without a need to have strong technical
skills, making it straightforward to reuse the same application
in subsequent editions or even in educational escape rooms
conducted in other courses. It should be noted that students
were allowed to consult the course materials as well as to
access the Internet during the whole activity in order to solve
the puzzles and to answer the questions in the hint application.
FIGURE 1. Students in the computer lab during the educational escape
The educational escape room was designed in such a way
that it enabled the participation of all students in the course
at the same time. In order to accomplish this, the activity
was hosted at a large computer laboratory (see Fig. 1) and
all puzzles were designed to be replicated in an easy and
inexpensive way. Performing the escape room for many stu-
dents at the same time allows to decrease the time invest-
ment for the course staff. Besides, it prevents students from
receiving information about the activity from other students
that performed it before. Since there is a dearth of research
work addressing the challenges of allowing all students of
large-enrollment courses to participate in educational escape
rooms simultaneously, the proposals and recommendations
exposed in this paper are also an important contribution to the
literature. In this experience, instead of forming large teams,
students were told to team up in pairs which, to the knowledge
of the authors, has not been attempted in any preceding edu-
cational escape room experience. Prior research substantiates
the belief that pair programming increases learning outcomes,
reduces student frustration, and improves the overall quality
of the resulting code [32], [33]. A recent study carried out
on people’s behavior in escape rooms [3] also found that
teams comprised of two people saw fluctuation in terms of
leadership, whereas in large teams the same person usually
kept the leading role throughout the activity. Before starting
the escape room activity, a laboratory desk with a computer
and a unique code was assigned to each participating team.
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A total of three course teachers were present during the
activity in order to supervise it and to give hints to the students
following the aforementioned approach.
The educational escape room was designed to last two
hours, the typical duration of a computer lab session. Thus,
students had two hours to solve all the puzzles. As mentioned
before, educational escape rooms do not generally last more
than one hour. However, we decided to set the duration of
the activity to two hours because we strongly believe that
meaningful programming challenges require more time and
effort to be solved. Furthermore, two hours is also the typical
duration of computer lab sessions, hence allowing the course
staff to easily replace a lab session with an educational escape
room activity in the course instructional design. At the end
of the escape room activity, all students were encouraged
to get their picture taken at a photocall assembled for the
event, which included a chroma key with a dungeon as its
background, along with a few other props.
The main aim of conducting the educational escape room
was to provide an engaging activity beneficial for the stu-
dents’ learning. Taking into account that students were
encouraged to study the course materials in advance in order
to solve the puzzles, it could be reasonable to think that the
educational escape room could only be used as a reinforce-
ment activity. However, it should be remarked that students
were expected to acquire new knowledge and improve their
practical programming skills in the educational escape room
by learning from their peers and as a result of the resolution
of the puzzles and the completion of quizzes in the hint
application. Moreover, this activity was also intended to allow
students to identify aspects into which they need to further
dwell that would otherwise remain unnoticed.
The process followed by the course staff to create the
educational escape room was composed of eight steps. First,
the approach for incorporating the activity into the course,
as well as its requirements and general design, were broadly
discussed and defined. In this first step, it was decided that
the educational escape room would be offered as an optional
but graded activity, that it would last two hours, and that it
would enable the simultaneous participation of all students
of the course teamed up in pairs. In this step, other design
aspects were also determined, including the decision to com-
bine computer-based and physical puzzles, the arrangement
of the puzzles in sequence, and the use of the hint approach
previously explained. In the second step, the main learning
objectives of the front-end development course block were
identified. After that, a discussion was carried out in order
to decide which kind of puzzle would be more appropriate to
address each learning objective identified in the previous step,
and how many puzzles the educational escape room should
have considering its duration. Afterwards, a narrative for the
experience was proposed based on this discussion, and its sto-
ryline was concocted. Then, the puzzles, clues and the rest of
the resources needed to conduct the escape room experience
(e.g. the introductory video) were elaborated. In this regard,
it is worth pointing out that the puzzles needed to line up
with the narrative, integrate the appropriate course materials
to address their corresponding learning objective, and entail
a reasonable difficulty so as to achieve a suitable trade-off
between boredom and frustration. In order to accomplish this
last requirement, it was essential to take into account the
effect of the difficulty not only of the puzzle mechanics but
also of the learning objectives. As suggested in [26] and [28],
the puzzles were designed to be of increasing complexity,
the last puzzle being the most difficult one. In fact, in spite
of following a sequential path for the whole escape room,
the last puzzle had an open structure in order to increase
intricacy. This puzzle was composed of three sub-puzzles
that students needed to solve in no particular order so as
to finally succeed in the escape room. After the elabora-
tion of the puzzles, each of them was individually tested to
ensure correctness. Then, the whole educational escape room
was tested through a simulation with one faculty member
(knowledgeable of the course materials) who volunteered to
participate. Finally, some minor refinements were made to the
escape room based on the lessons learned from the simulation
and the participant’s feedback.
FIGURE 2. Screenshot of the introductory video screened to students at
the beginning of the escape room.
The overall theme selected for the narrative of the educational
escape room was deactivating an explosive artifact, which is
a popular topic, accounting for 5% of escape rooms world-
wide [2]. The activity started by presenting the students with
an introductory video (Fig. 2) screened on the computer lab in
which one person appears in the middle of a dungeon, in an
uncomfortable chair, hands and legs tied. In the video, this
person presents himself as ‘‘the professor’’ and explains that
he has discovered that some teachers from the electronics
department were building a bomb to blow up the whole
school and they found out that he was developing a software
application to deactivate it. The professor also says that he
was kidnapped before finishing the software application and,
since this application was based on the technologies that
students learned in class, they were the only ones capable
of completing it in order to stop the bomb and save him
and the whole school. He also reveals to the students that he
has hidden a few clues in an envelope to help them finish
the software application and warns them that these clues
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are encrypted in order to prevent the evil teachers from the
electronics department from understanding them. This gives
a purpose to the escape room puzzles, which is in line with
the ‘‘Ask Why’’ model for designing escape rooms proposed
in [28]. This model advocates that all the elements in a room
should be included for a reason that is consistent with the
narrative, and not just for the sake of adding difficulty. After
watching the video, students are given two hours to run the
bomb-deactivating application before the bomb is detonated
at the end of the countdown. This countdown is projected on
a screen during the whole activity allowing students to be
aware of the time they have left to deactivate the bomb at
any moment. The experience reported in this work is a case
of a reverse escape room, in which students are not locked
in a room but, instead, they need to help a kidnapped person
break out. This approach allows enhancing the immersion of
the experience since students find it easier to put themselves
in this situation in comparison with an escape room whose
narrative presumes they are actually locked up. Undoubtedly,
the psychological conditions of being confined in a closed
room are different from those of being in a laboratory with
dozens of other students around. Nevertheless, the latter does
not prevent the experience from being considered an escape
room, since it incorporates the key elements that are distinc-
tive of these activities: an engaging narrative that articulates
the whole experience, a series of puzzles intended to be
solved collaboratively that rely on game mechanics, and the
feeling of rush due to the countdown. Having all the teams
together in an unlocked room is not something unique to
this experience, as it seems to be the go-to approach for
designing educational escape rooms that can fit all the stu-
dents simultaneously in large-enrollment courses according
to [13] and [14]. Moreover, although escaping from an actual
room is the most common theme in escape rooms, a number
of them revolve around completely different narratives [2].
On this point, the narrative of the experience presented in
this work combines five overarching concepts used in leisure
escape rooms: escaping a specific unpleasant place such as a
dungeon (which accounts for 30% of escape rooms world-
wide), defusing an explosive device (5%), freeing another
person (2%), helping create something (2%) and surviv-
ing (1%) [2].
Table 1summarizes all the puzzles that were integrated into
the educational escape room activity indicating, for each one
of them, the learning objective addressed and the puzzle
mechanics used. The terminology employed for naming these
puzzle mechanics has been primarily extracted from [2],
although some new terms have been incorporated. All the
puzzles are described in detail in the next subsections.
Each team participating in the educational escape room had
an assigned laboratory desk with a computer, on top of which
TABLE 1. Summary of the escape room puzzles.
there was an envelope. In the introductory video, students are
told that this envelope contains several clues to help them
finish the bomb-deactivating application. The first clue that
students find inside the envelope is a piece of paper with an
IP address written on it. This IP address points to a landing
website where they can find the introductory video, a link
to the hint application previously described, and a link to a
GitHub repository that hosts the bomb-deactivating software
application. Using GitHub in educational settings has become
popular in recent years since it is an outstanding tool to
foster collaborative learning [34] and to facilitate teamwork
while enabling traceability of individual contributions [35].
Knowing how to download code from this platform to their
own computer constitutes the first challenge of the escape
room for the students and, from the educational point of view,
the first learning objective.
Once students have downloaded the code of the bomb-
deactivating application, they should identify that it is indeed
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a React application, such as the ones with which they have
worked in class. Their next goal is to properly install all
the dependencies and run the application. The most common
command to run a React application is ‘‘npm start’’ but,
in this case, when students run it they are faced with an
error message that urges them to find the right command for
this application. For this puzzle, students need to know that,
in this kind of applications, available scripts are listed in the
‘‘package.json’’ file. By inspecting this file, they identify that
the right command is ‘‘npm run breakout’’. After running it,
students are presented with visual feedback that the applica-
tion is working, which is important for them to know that they
are on the right track.
The bomb-deactivating application has some intentional
errors that students need to fix so as to load the first screen of
its web interface. In order to track down these errors, they
need to know how to debug code using the web browser
console, which is a skill that is important to all programmers,
especially novices [36]. There is a total of three errors, which
deal with basic knowledge of React: importing dependencies,
knowing that all React components must define a render
method, and realizing that the render method can only return
one element.
Once all errors have been amended, students are presented
with the first screen of the bomb-deactivating application
on the browser. It contains a welcome message that warns
them that, in order to access the advanced features, they need
to execute the function specified in an audio track embed-
ded below. Hearing is a technique that is used in 26% of
escape rooms worldwide [2] to potentiate immersion. In this
case, the audio track consists of the Morse code distress
signal (‘‘SOS’’). Students need to decode the message and
call a function named ‘‘SOS’’ in order to continue to the
next screen. This task allows them to review the idea that,
in JavaScript, functions are declared as variables and need
to include parentheses in order to be invoked. Students are
not expected to be familiar with Morse code but instead, they
should use online information sources in order to overcome
this challenge. There is evidence that 20% of escape rooms
require participants to research using information sources [2].
The progress of the students towards the bomb-
deactivating web application is saved using the browser’s
local storage in order to preserve it even if students refresh the
webpage. Thus, it is guaranteed that a team should not solve
the same puzzle more than once and that the proper screen
will be presented if the application is reloaded. Moreover,
in order to avoid cheating, most of the code that manages the
progress of the bomb-deactivating application is intentionally
obfuscated, so students are not capable of understanding it.
The next screen in the application has a message in an
unknown language. Students need to make use of an
automated translation engine in order to find out that it
is Bengali language and to interpret its meaning. The text
appeals to them to modify the application’s code in order to
render a list of React components that constitute the different
bomb parts. The standard way of doing this in React is by
using the ‘‘map’’ function, a concept that was strongly high-
lighted in class and that students often have difficulties grasp-
ing. If students correctly perform said programming task, four
toggle switches appear on the screen (as seen in Fig. 3), each
one associated with one part of the bomb.
FIGURE 3. Screenshot of the bomb-deactivating application.
In order to solve this puzzle, students need to turn off the
switches associated with the bomb parts revealed in the pre-
vious step in the right order, mimicking the deactivation of
the different bomb components. In order to find out the right
sequence, they need to use one of the clues left in the enve-
lope. Specifically, they need to examine a picture of the
professor’s office and notice a drawing on the blackboard that
establishes a parallelism between the bomb components and
some of the React lifecycle methods. By putting the lifecy-
cle methods in order, students find out the right sequence
for deactivating the bomb components. This puzzle com-
bines three widely used resources in escape rooms: notic-
ing something obvious in a room, searching for objects in
images, and pattern identification. These puzzle mechanics
are used respectively in 49%, 43% and 38% of escape rooms
worldwide [2].
At this point, students think they have already accomplished
their final goal, but they suddenly encounter an unforeseen
event: the bomb’s uranium core is overheating. The element
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of surprise is a technique often used as a part of good
storytelling and solid game design [37]. In order to trigger
the cooling mechanism, students need to perform an asyn-
chronous call to a REST API. First, they need to find out the
port number on which the API is listening by solving three
sub-puzzles (7a, 7b and 7c). After that, they must code the
corresponding asynchronous request (sub-puzzle 7d).
Once again, students need to refer to the paper-based clues
included in the professor’s envelope in order to find out the
missing information. This time, they are provided with the
code of a React Native application which consists of a grid
made of colored squares. Students need to have an under-
standing of Flexbox (the layout mode used to build interfaces
in React Native) and apply symbol substitution (a technique
used in 47% of escape rooms [2]) in order to figure out the
right order for the colors. Only one color in each row will
eventually reveal the number of the port. They need to solve
the puzzles 7b and 7c to find out which one.
FIGURE 4. Redux architecture jigsaw.
For this puzzle, students need to make use of a piece of
paper contained in the envelope which has several jigsaw
pieces (see Fig. 4). Each of these pieces contains the name
of an element that is susceptible to being part of the Redux
architecture. Students need to cut out all the pieces and put
them in the right order, discarding those that are not part of
said architecture. Assembling a physical object is a recurring
technique used in 40% of escape rooms around the globe [2].
Once they solve the jigsaw, they can flip it over and see that
each row has one square aligned to the left, to the right or cen-
tered. Using shape manipulation is required by 11% of escape
rooms [2]. The resulting square disposition corresponds with
the color grid from puzzle 7a. Students can obtain a list of
four colors by filtering out only one color for each row.
This challenge deals with discovering what number is associ-
ated with each color, in order to discover the port number.
Students find another piece of paper inside the envelope,
which contains the code of an HTML page that requires
them to evaluate a snippet of JavaScript code that tests their
knowledge on conditionals, loops, arrays and also on CSS
selectors and basic HTML. The resulting rendering of the
HTML page reads: ‘‘In order to solve the puzzle, green must
face north’’. Students need to scan a QR code present in
the sheet of paper, which takes them to a digital numbered
color roulette with twelve different colors. Each color is
lined up with a number that changes when the roulette is
rotated. Students need to rotate it until the green color faces
north to obtain the correct correspondence between numbers
and colors. Putting all the information from puzzles 7a, 7b
and this one together, the four-digit sequence corresponding
to the port number is finally unveiled. Using riddles like
the one involved in this puzzle is quite common in escape
rooms, accounting for 37% of them [2]. Moreover, solving
this puzzle requires using symbol substitution and shape
manipulation (rotating the roulette).
Finally, once students obtain the port number (by solving
puzzles 7a, 7b and 7c), they may perform the asynchronous
request to the REST API. In the body of the request, they
must include the team number that they were assigned before
the event. Once the request has been successfully performed,
the cooling system is launched, thus ending the explosive
threat and concluding the escape room activity.
The web server where the API is hosted records students’
submissions along with the remaining time, allowing the
course staff to keep track of those students who successfully
complete the escape room, which is no easy task on such a
large gathering of students.
Students’ opinions on the performed educational escape room
were collected through an online survey that was conducted
immediately after the end of the activity. This survey included
some initial demographic questions, a set of opinion ques-
tions, and a list of statements with which students needed to
agree or disagree using a 5-point Likert scale. The questions
aimed to assess the students’ perceptions toward the use of the
educational escape room as a learning activity, the students’
thoughts on the design of the escape room, and whether
students preferred the escape room over a regular computer
lab session. At the end of the survey, there was a space
in which students could leave suggestions, complaints, and
other comments.
The main aim of this study was to evaluate the stu-
dents’ perceptions of the conducted educational escape room.
In order not to influence these perceptions, no pre-test was
conducted prior to the beginning of the activity. Performing
a pre-test and a post-test would have allowed obtaining a
quantitative measure of learning effectiveness. However, this
intervention could have caused an impact on the students’
motivation since filling a questionnaire is perceived as a
cumbersome task by many of them. Moreover, having a ran-
domized control group was not possible in this study due to
ethical reasons and the university’s policy. Therefore, in this
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TABLE 2. Results of the educational escape room survey conducted
among students.
case study, learning effectiveness was assessed in a qualitative
way by asking students about their self-perceived increase in
Prior research has found that educational escape rooms
can be an effective way to foster student engagement in
several disciplines [9]–[20]. Before conducting this study,
we believed that its results would confirm that educational
escape rooms can be an excellent fit for programming courses
as well.
The evaluation survey was completed by a total
of 84 students, who volunteered to do so at the end of the
activity. This sample represents 67.7% of the 124 students
who attended the educational escape room. Of the 84 students
of the sample, 61 were male (72.6%) and 23 were female
(27.4%). The mean age of respondents was 22.2 with a
standard deviation of 2.9. Table 2shows the results of the
evaluation survey including, for each question, the mean (M)
and standard deviation (SD), along with the number of
answers (N).
In general, students regard the front-end development part
of the course as the most challenging one. When inquired
about this issue, they neither agreed nor disagreed with
the statement that this course block was easy (M =3.0,
SD =1.0). As it has been mentioned, the difficulty inherent
in this part of the subject was the main motivation for running
the escape room.
Most students expressed a prior interest in games
(M =4.2, SD =0.9), although a gender bias was detected
on the answers to this question by means of a Mann-Whitney
U test. Males showed a high inclination towards gaming
(M =4.4, SD =0.7), whereas females showed a statis-
tically significant (p <0.001) lower interest (M =3.6,
SD =0.9). However, no gender bias was detected in any
of the questions that addressed students liking of the escape
room. These findings indicate that, although females seem to
have reservations with regard to games in general, the escape
room attracted students of both genders equally. As a matter
of fact, Nicholson [38] found that around 70% of escape room
teams worldwide are of mixed genders, and the remaining are
equally split between all male and all female. Additionally,
Chapman and Rich [39] reported that gender was not a barrier
to finding gamification motivating.
The results of the survey conducted in this study show that
students had a very positive overall opinion on the educational
escape room (M =4.3, SD =0.8) and thought it was
a fun experience (M =4.2, SD =1.1). Students’ prior
interest in games proved to be no harbinger of their opinion
on the escape room since no correlation was found between
these two variables. A percentage of 90.5% of students stated
they would recommend other students to participate in the
escape room and 95.2% claimed that they would like other
courses to embrace similar activities. The satisfactory out-
comes obtained for student engagement confirm the initial
hypothesis of the present study that educational escape rooms
can be an excellent way to foster motivation in programming
courses, as foreshadowed by the results shown in prior works
from other disciplines [10]–[20].
In regard to learning effectiveness, students stated that the
escape room helped them improve their knowledge of the
course materials to some extent (M =3.4, SD =1.2).
These results were consistent with previous studies, which
also found that educational escape rooms have the ability to
improve students knowledge on a specific topic [10], [15].
Interestingly enough, all the students that reported very high
learning outcomes also rated the activity as extremely fun.
In fact, a moderately strong correlation (Pearson’s r =0.62,
p<0.001) was found between student engagement and self-
perceived learning effectiveness. However, a non-negligible
correlation was also found between learning effectiveness and
whether students regarded the front-end development block
as easy (Pearson’s r =0.45,p<0.001), indicating that
students that were already comfortable with the material were
the ones who made the most of the escape room. Taking
into account the results obtained on learning effectiveness,
it can be stated that the educational escape room conducted
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was perceived by the students as a highly engaging and
reasonably effective learning activity. Although one could
presume that the educational escape room would not work
as a teaching activity, since students were encouraged to
review the course content beforehand, these results reveal
that it allowed them to improve their prior knowledge of
the course materials. Another indicator of the impact of the
conducted educational escape room on the students’ learn-
ing is the difference between the pass rate of the front-end
development block exam of the students who attended the
escape room (N =118, Pass rate =79%) and that of those
students who took the course the preceding year and hence
did not have the opportunity to participate in said escape
room (N =101, Pass rate =56%). This difference was
found to be statistically significant (chi-square test, χ2=
22.2, p <0.001). The difference in the average grade was
also found to be statistically significant (p <0.001) with a
medium to large effect size (Cohen’s d =0.75) according
to Cohen [40]. However, it should be considered that there
were other factors that influenced the students’ performance.
For instance, although the exams of these two years covered
the same topics, their content was completely different for
obvious reasons. Therefore, it is not realistic to state that the
improvement of students’ performance was only due to the
inclusion of the educational escape room.
Regarding the design of the escape room, students thought
it was well organized (M =3.9, SD =1.0) and slightly
agreed with the statement that it was too difficult (M =3.4,
SD =0.9). Nevertheless, only 5 teams (8% of students)
were capable of solving all the puzzles in the given time-
frame, which might be an indicator of excessive difficulty.
Prior works have also reported low success rates [13], [20],
sometimes leading to students feeling frustrated that they
did not have enough time to complete the activity. However,
a few studies reported that all of the students were capable of
breaking out of the room in time [11], [17]. Contrary to what
could be expected, no correlation was found between the per-
ceived difficulty of the escape room and student engagement
(whether they thought it was fun). No prior studies, to the
knowledge of the authors, have found a strong relationship
between these two variables.
When compared with the computer lab sessions performed
in the course, students declared that they prefer the escape
room over a lab session (M =4.5, SD =0.9) and that
the learning outcomes are somewhat higher in the former
(M =3.7, SD =1.3). These results are consistent with
previous research works [14], [16], which established that
students feel more engaged and obtain slightly better learning
outcomes in educational escape rooms than in other practical
activities. In view of these results, course staff of program-
ming courses at higher education institutions should consider
replacing some hands-on activities, such as lab sessions, with
well-designed educational escape rooms.
At the end of the survey, there was a space for comments,
suggestions, and complaints. One student suggested having
time limits for each puzzle so nobody gets stuck at the
beginning, allowing more students to finish in time. In order
to prevent students from getting stuck at a certain puzzle
in our educational escape room, we allowed students to get
hints by passing a web-based quiz. Notwithstanding, it seems
that this hint approach was not sufficiently effective for some
participants. Another proof of this issue was the complaint
of a student who said that requiring to get four out of five
answers right in the hint application was excessively demand-
ing. There are a number of options that could alleviate this
issue such as giving free hints for lagging students, disclosing
hints to all participants at specific time points (as reported
in [10]), making the first puzzles even easier, or making the
different hints systematically given to students for the same
puzzle increasingly helpful.
A few students also stated that the hardest part was know-
ing what to do first and that further guidance was needed
at the beginning. This finding is consistent with those of
prior research [13]. In view of this evidence, educational
escape room designers should pay special attention to the
starting point of the activity in order to provide students with
sufficient initial guidance, in such a way that they are clearly
aware of the final goal to be achieved, the first actions they
should carry out and how they can ask for help when stuck.
A couple of students complained about not knowing if a
certain error in the provided software application was inten-
tionally introduced as a part of the escape room or was
accidental, which added difficulty to the whole experience.
This matter evidences that using software applications in
educational escape rooms for programming courses poses
additional challenges which are specific to this field. Using
software applications as part of an educational escape room
experience requires teachers to test them very carefully as
well as to think thoroughly how to prepare them (e.g. by
introducing errors or leaving incomplete parts) so as to be of
high educational value for students. One drawback of escape
rooms that include intelligent or interactive computer-based
systems is that they require organizers to have significant
technical expertise in order to design, develop and maintain
the software involved.
Several students regretted not having reviewed the course
materials in depth prior to the activity, underlining that mas-
tering the course materials was the key to making the most
of it. An earlier study has also come across this situation
despite having warned students in advance that basic knowl-
edge on the course content was needed in order to succeed
in the activity [17]. It is suggested that instructors further
dwell on this issue, finding ways to motivate students to
review the materials before the educational escape room takes
place. In this regard, offering an educational escape room
as a graded activity could be helpful to achieve this aim.
Furthermore, two students reported that they did not fully
understand some of the course content covered in the escape
room and asked to see it in more depth in class, a petition that
was granted the following day.
Overall, most students left very positive comments
in which they wrote that they thoroughly enjoyed the
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educational escape room experience and that they would
like more hands-on activities like this one. They remarked
they wished other courses undertook similar initiatives and
thanked the course staff for taking the time to organize the
activity. In general, students showed a high level of engage-
ment in the course of the educational escape room and, when
it came to an end, they provided highly positive face-to-face
feedback and were eager to ascertain the correct answer to all
the puzzles they could not solve in time.
This section presents several recommendations derived
from the lessons learned from conducting the educational
escape room previously described. Given that no previous
educational escape room experiences in the field of computer
programming have been reported in the literature, these rec-
ommendations constitute a valuable source of information for
educators interested in creating effective educational escape
rooms for teaching this subject.
The first valuable lesson learned is that it is of crucial
importance for educational escape rooms to provide students
with strong initial guidance since the initial confusion may
cause them to lose a significant amount of time at the begin-
ning, which may lead to frustration [13]. In order to tackle
this issue, the initial guidance should clearly indicate the final
goal of the escape room, the first actions that participants
should perform, and how they can ask for help if they get
stuck at one puzzle. Another useful recommendation is to
make the first puzzles of the escape room very easy to further
facilitate participants getting started with the activity.
Based on the results obtained from our educational
escape room experience, we strongly recommend combin-
ing computer-based and physical puzzles when designing
an activity of this kind in a programming course, which
has proven to be an effective approach in other disciplines
as well [8], [14], [19], [20]. On the one hand, digital puz-
zles allow presenting students with effective challenges that
test and improve their programming skills. In this regard,
we found especially useful using software applications with
intended errors and/or incomplete parts carefully designed
to be of educational value. Nonetheless, it should be noted
that the development of these applications requires careful
pedagogical design and thorough testing. On the other hand,
physical puzzles have proven to have very positive impacts
on student engagement and are very helpful for enhancing the
immersion of the experience. The main reason for this is that
these puzzles allow for the incorporation of mechanics into
the activity that are not possible to provide through digital
challenges, such as assembling and manipulating physical
Another recommendation regarding the design of edu-
cational escape rooms is arranging puzzles in sequence in
such a way that each puzzle unlocks the next one, forcing
students to solve them in a specific order. This recommen-
dation owes to three reasons. The first one is that arranging
puzzles in sequence forces teams to work simultaneously on
all puzzles and hence all the content is equally consumed
by all team members. The second one is that linear paths
require less guidance for students; thus, they often result
in easier educational escape rooms without decreasing their
learning effectiveness. The last reason why we recommend to
follow a sequential path is that it facilitates the measurement
of the progress and performance of all students, and hence
the activity can be easily monitored. We also recommend
designing the puzzles in such a way that they are of increasing
difficulty. This way, it would be less likely for students to
get stuck at the beginning of the activity, which can be very
discouraging for them.
The results of this paper show that it is possible to suc-
cessfully conduct educational escape rooms for teaching pro-
gramming capable of allowing the simultaneous participation
of many students. Therefore, we recommend that, whenever
possible, educational escape rooms be designed to be con-
ducted in a single session for all participants, thus allowing to
significantly reduce the time invested by the course staff since
it would not be necessary to conduct the activity in multiple
time slots. Another advantage of running only one session
is that this way participants cannot receive information from
other students who have performed the escape room before
When conducting educational escape rooms for teaching
programming, we propose to team up students in pairs instead
of forming larger teams. This way, students can take advan-
tage of the benefits of pair programming, which have been
strongly evidenced in [32] and [33]. Another purpose for
having students work in pairs is that it is more likely for them
to shift leadership roles throughout the activity in compari-
son with larger teams, a benefit that has been also reported
by Pan et al. [3].
Hint management during educational escape rooms is an
essential factor for their success. However, as mentioned
before, this is not a topic to which prior works have paid
special attention. In the educational escape room reported
in this study, an innovative hint approach was put into prac-
tice, which required students to get four out of five random
questions right in a web-based quiz that covered the course
materials in order to get a hint from the teachers (details about
this approach are provided in section III-B). Based on our
experience, we strongly believe that this hint approach was
very appropriate. On the one hand, it forced students to review
some of the course’s theoretical content, complementing the
practical skills that the escape room put to the test. On the
other hand, it prevented students from continuously calling
for help, since getting a hint required a significant effort on
their part. During the course of the escape room, we observed
that the cadence with which students asked for a hint was very
moderate and that they only resorted to the hint application
when they were truly stuck. Another advantage of the strategy
we followed for giving hints is that the application used can be
easily modified to include new questions or change existing
ones, allowing its update for subsequent editions or even for
different courses. Moreover, the criteria for issuing a hint
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can be adjusted with a view to modulate the difficulty of
the escape room. Building web-based quiz applications, like
the one we used, is relatively easy and can be done through
existing tools such as RESCORM [41]. Although we are
quite satisfied with the outcomes of the hint approach used
in the educational escape room, we recognize that there is
room for improvement. Students’ feedback on the activity
suggests that this hint approach was not sufficiently effective
for some participants. Therefore, we recommend using our
hint approach accompanied by additional measures such as
giving free hints for lagging students or disclosing hints to all
participants at specific time points. An even better approach
would be to automate the process of issuing hints. In order
to do this, it would be necessary to define all hints for each
puzzle in advance and keep track of the hints already given
to each team so as to present them with a new hint every
time. In this regard, it could be quite useful to make the
different hints automatically given to students for the same
puzzle increasingly helpful. Another option to deliver hints
to the students during an escape room is to use a hybrid
approach, in which hints can be delivered automatically by
a software system (such as the quiz application used in our
experience) or by the teachers present in the activity when
the automatic hints are not enough for effectively helping the
An important decision in the design of an educational
escape room is how the activity is going to be evaluated.
This is a concern that raises with gamification approaches in
education [42]. One option is to offer the educational escape
room as a non-graded activity. However, making the activity
count for a grade could be beneficial in order to motivate
the students to review the corresponding course materials in
advance, which is a key factor in the success of educational
escape room experiences. In this regard, it should be taken
into account that educational escape rooms pose a greater
challenge for the course staff when it comes to grading since
the outcome of the activity is binary: whether a student
escapes (i.e. solves all puzzles) or not. Therefore, if teachers
intend to assign non-binary grades instead of providing a
pass/fail mark, they must monitor the educational escape
room activity in order to keep track of the students’ perfor-
mance, which requires to gather information such as how
many and which puzzles each team has solved, the number
of hints each team requested per puzzle, and the time points
in which all these actions occurred. This kind of monitoring
should be performed in an automatic way because otherwise,
it would depend on the teachers’ observations and thus it
would be implausible for educational escape rooms targeting
large groups. By gathering accurate information about an
educational escape room activity, teachers can assign grades
based not only on its final result (i.e. which teams solved all
the puzzles) but also on the individual learning objectives met
by each team and/or the achievement of specific milestones.
Furthermore, teachers could adjust the grades depending on
the number of hints requested by each team. Additional
information that teachers could find useful for assessing the
activity is how good students were at building teamwork,
which role they played inside of their teams, and which was
their individual contribution. Unfortunately, automatically
monitoring this information seems currently unattainable,
and thus it should be gathered manually through teacher
observation which, as mentioned before, is not feasible
for mass-attendance activities. Another concern related to
the grading of educational escape rooms of which teachers
should be aware, is that students generally do not have notions
on how these innovative activities are evaluated since they
usually have not had previous experiences. This can cause
unease among students, especially for those accustomed to
obtaining high scores. The continuous turmoil regarding
grades can represent a major hindrance for student engage-
ment [43]. Taking all these into account, teachers should
carefully decide the grading scheme to be used in educa-
tional escape room activities and clearly explain said grading
scheme to the students before the activity.
Finally, on the basis of the lessons learned from the expe-
rience reported in this paper, we propose a workflow for
teachers to design and conduct educational escape rooms.
The proposed workflow is comprised of the following nine
1) Discuss and define how to incorporate the escape room
into the course, its requirements and its general design.
This task involves many decisions, including the dura-
tion, grading scheme and capacity of the activity.
In order to accomplish this task, several factors should
be taken into account, such as the course character-
istics, the profile of the students, and the available
personnel, equipment and facilities.
2) Identify the specific learning objectives of the course
that the educational escape room should cover.
3) Decide what kind of puzzle would be more appro-
priate to address each learning objective identified in
the previous phase and how many puzzles the educa-
tional escape room should have taking into account its
4) Define an engaging narrative that is compatible with
the course content covered.
5) Design and build the puzzles, clues, hints and the rest
of the resources needed to conduct the escape room.
6) Test each puzzle individually.
7) Perform a simulation to test the whole educational
escape room in a real setting.
8) Refine the educational escape room based on the sim-
ulation output.
9) When conducting the educational escape room with its
intended audience, collect feedback in order to improve
the activity for future editions.
The proffered workflow does not stray too far from the
framework proposed in [44], although there are some differ-
ences. For instance, our workflow suggests to broadly define
the puzzle types before the narrative, since their nature and
the learning objective addressed in each one of them can
be a constraining factor in the selection of the theme of the
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escape room. In fact, designing the puzzles and the narrative
could also be done following an iterative process, in which the
general storyline is gradually adapted to match the require-
ments of each puzzle. Our workflow also indicates additional
aspects that should be taken into account in the initial design
phase of the escape room such as the approach to incorporate
the activity into the course (including the grading scheme)
and the availability of personnel, equipment and facilities.
Another noteworthy difference is that our workflow stresses
the need for testing each of the puzzles individually, testing
the whole educational escape room through a simulation in
a real setting, and refining the activity based on the output
of these tests. In fact, one of the most important lessons
learned from this experience is this need for testing the escape
room thoroughly, which has also been pointed out by other
researchers such as [13], [14], and [23]. Detecting and fixing
errors in the design of an educational escape room is key for
its success since the presence of an error in a puzzle could
have catastrophic consequences. For instance, it could create
confusion given that students may think that it is part of
the narrative (as evidenced by the results of our experience)
and prevent students from progressing to the next puzzles,
which could ruin the activity if teachers do not detect the
error soon enough and think up a solution for the incident
on the spur of the moment. In this regard, it is also worth
pointing out that the high specificity of the learning materials
in computer science courses poses an additional difficulty
in finding volunteers for the testing session. For this reason,
we also recommend collecting feedback from students after
conducting an educational escape room with a view to making
improvements for subsequent editions.
This paper reports the results of a case study in which an
educational escape room was conducted in a programming
course at a higher education institution. These results provide,
for the first time, insights on the instructional effectiveness of
using educational escape rooms for teaching programming.
Based on these results, it can be suggested that appropriate
use of educational escape rooms can have significant pos-
itive impacts on student engagement and learning in pro-
gramming courses. These findings, which are consistent with
those of [10]–[20], provide more evidence that educational
escape rooms constitute a compelling way to increase student
This study also found that students preferred the con-
ducted educational escape room over traditional computer
lab sessions and that they perceived the learning outcomes
somewhat higher in the former. Previous works have provided
similar findings [14], [16], although this specific compari-
son was not addressed by any of them. Another novel and
relevant finding of this study is that, despite the fact that
female students showed less prior interest in games, they
enjoyed the escape room as much as their male counter-
parts. Previous studies [45], [46] identified a gender bias in
gaming, which resulted in specific games for each gender.
Nonetheless, according to the evidence provided by this
work, educational escape rooms seem to be attractive and
effective for both genders equally, which is a highly valuable
insight for the research and educational communities.
Little work has been done in order to address the challenges
of designing and running educational escape rooms capable
of allowing groups with numerous students to participate at
the same time. Therefore, this work makes an important con-
tribution to this growing research field by reporting a success
case in which an escape room of this type was designed and
run in a higher education setting.
Built on lessons learned from the design and execution of
the reported educational escape room, this paper presents a
set of recommendations for educators in order to help them
create effective educational escape rooms for teaching pro-
gramming, including a specific workflow to which to adhere
when creating and carrying out a similar activity. Since there
are no previous works on educational escape rooms that target
programming courses, these recommendations are another
unique and highly valuable contribution of this paper. Among
the most important recommendations, it is worth highlight-
ing the advisability of providing students with strong initial
guidance, combining computer-based and physical puzzles,
arranging puzzles in sequence (preferably with increasing
difficulty), teaming up students in pairs instead of forming
larger teams, and testing the whole escape room thoroughly.
Regarding the provision of help during the activity, we recom-
mend using a hint approach that requires students to answer
questions on theoretical concepts accompanied by additional
measures such as giving free hints for lagging students or dis-
closing hints to all participants at specific time points.
Additional recommendations include performing the activity
in a single session for all participants whenever possible,
grading the activity in order to motivate students to review
the course materials covered in advance as well as to clearly
explain the grading scheme adopted to them, keeping track
of the students’ performance, and collecting feedback to
improve future editions.
With the rise of distance learning through MOOCs and
virtual learning environments, highly engaging activities like
educational escape rooms could provide instructors of face-
to-face courses with an added value capable of increasing
students’ motivation and getting them back in the classroom.
Although the initial investment of time and effort on the part
of the course staff to design and create educational escape
rooms is, in principle, notably higher than that of other tra-
ditional hands-on learning activities such as computer lab
sessions, their markedly and undeniable positive effect on
student engagement as well as their ability to be reused
in the following years makes it worthwhile. This capac-
ity of escape rooms to be reused was previously noted by
Gómez-Urquiza et al. [10] and Cain [14], who also remarked
their positive effects on student motivation. Moreover, the fact
that educational escape rooms can be designed to be of
the same duration as regular class lectures or practical
learning activities eases their incorporation into a course
VOLUME 7, 2019 31735
S. López-Pernas et al.: Examining the Use of an Educational Escape Room for Teaching Programming
instructional design. In view of all these facts, it seems that
there are no insurmountable barriers that prevent educational
escape rooms to fit in a programming course curriculum.
This research throws up many questions in need of fur-
ther investigation. For instance, a quantitative assessment
of how educational escape rooms impact student academic
performance on a certain topic is certainly needed in order to
further understand the pedagogical utility of this novel teach-
ing method. Further research is also needed to analyze how
different approaches for issuing hints, puzzle organizations,
levels of difficulty, or team sizes influence the instructional
effectiveness of educational escape rooms. Another valuable
direction for future work would also be to examine the ben-
efits for teaching programming that may arise from using
educational escape rooms that incorporate new technologies
such as virtual and augmented reality [47], as well as novel
resources such as virtual and remote laboratories [48], [49].
Finally, another interesting line of future work would be
to provide solutions to automatically monitor educational
escape rooms in order to keep track of the students’ progress
and performance. Of special interest would be solutions capa-
ble of capturing data about the students and their interactions
during the course of escape rooms, and providing learning
analytics to teachers in real time that they could use to drive
interventions for enhancing the experiences. In this regard,
we plan to develop an open source web-based platform capa-
ble of fully managing and monitoring educational escape
rooms, keeping track of students’ progress and performance
with a high level of accuracy as well as generating learn-
ing analytics and intervention suggestions in real time. The
objective of building this platform is to enable the creation
of educational escape rooms with the ability to deliver hints
automatically, control the flow of participants through the
experience, and change the activity based upon their per-
formance. According to [28], these are features that fourth
generation educational escape rooms are expected to have.
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the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in telecom-
munications engineering from the Universidad
Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), in 2016 and 2018,
respectively, where she is currently pursuing the
Ph.D. degree in telematics engineering. Since
2015, she has been a Researcher with the Depart-
ment of Telematics Engineering, UPM, partici-
pating in different projects such as FIWARE and
eid4U. Her research interests include technology-
enhanced learning and real-time analytics, with a focus on authoring tools,
educational data mining, and data usage control.
ALDO GORDILLO received the degree in
telecommunications engineering and the Ph.D.
degree in telematics engineering from the Univer-
sidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), in 2012 and
2017, respectively. Since 2012, he has been a
Research and Development Engineer with the
Telematics Engineering Department, UPM. His
research interests include the field of technology
enhanced learning, with a special focus on cre-
ation, evaluation, and dissemination of e-learning
resources, computer science education, game-based learning, and e-learning
ENRIQUE BARRA received the Ph.D. degree in
telematics engineering with minoring in multi-
media and technology enhanced learning from
the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. He has
participated in many European projects, such as
GLOBAL, FIWARE, and C@R. He is currently
involved in several projects contributing to the
generation and distribution of educational con-
tent in TEL environments. His research interests
include videoconferencing, games in education,
and social networks in education.
JUAN QUEMADA (LM’18) is currently a Pro-
fessor with the Telematics Engineering Depart-
ment, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM).
He is the Head of the Internet NG UPM Research
Group, the Telefonica Chair of UPM, for the
next-generation Internet, and the UPM Represen-
tative at the World Wide Web Consortium. He has
authored in a large variety of publications. His
research interests include collaborative and social
application architecture for the Internet and the
Web, including cloud computing, where he has a strong involvement in
European and Spanish research.
VOLUME 7, 2019 31737
... Healy, 2019;Lopez-Pernas et al., 2019;Nicholson, 2015), applying curriculum content (Clauson et al., 2019;Eukel et al., 2017;Healy, 2019;Nicholson & Cable, 2021;Voros & Sarkozi, 2017), and reflective assessment (Ho, 2018;Lopez-Pernas et al., 2019). Since the use of educational escape rooms is still a relatively new field there are a number of important gaps that should be addressed for future research.While educators have used escape rooms for students to apply curriculum content in a contextualised setting and build familiarity with new skills (with teaching coming from a debriefing activity held after play), they have not yet been tested for teaching students who have little baseline knowledge of a given subject. ...
... , applying curriculum content (Clauson et al., 2019;Eukel et al., 2017;Healy, 2019;Nicholson & Cable, 2021;Voros & Sarkozi, 2017), and reflective assessment (Ho, 2018;Lopez-Pernas et al., 2019). Since the use of educational escape rooms is still a relatively new field there are a number of important gaps that should be addressed for future research. ...
... This allows teams to split up to solve strands of the game and discuss their experience afterwards (both what they encountered and did not), or dynamically share their knowledge in-game if required to progress with a puzzle. Often the solution to a puzzle (or combination of puzzles) will result in further information or puzzles that will aid a team, as demonstrated by some of the puzzles created by Lopez-Pernas et al. (2019). ...
Full-text available
Escape rooms are an increasingly popular form of live-action entertainment in which teams of players need to solve puzzles to escape or reach a narrative goal within a specified time limit. Current research suggests that this style of activity promotes the effective use of team skills in the classroom, which are desirable in the workplace, and also that students are more engaged in the hands-on learning environment. During this study we created a game designed to teach mathematical concepts related to finding missing side lengths in a right-angled triangle using trigonometry to secondary school students who had limited knowledge in this area. Our experiment tested the success of our escape room’s teaching capabilities through comparing student performance on a test completed immediately after finishing the game. We also evaluated whether students’ perception of the applicability of mathematics and their feelings towards studying it improves from playing. Finally, we intended to confirm the findings of other researchers on engagement; extend that to the effective use of team skills through examining if there is a relationship between completion time and the observed behaviours within each team. Results suggest that the game is successful in teaching and building familiarity with some aspects of the topic and that there is no correlation between effective team skills and completion time. We make suggestions for improvements to the game design that would warrant an additional experiment into the teaching potential of escape rooms.
... Participativni pristup omogućava da se rešavanju problema pristupi iz različitih perspektiva, čime se podstiče strateška kompetencija (Cruz, 2019;Franco & DeLuca, 2019). U zavisnosti od načina primene u nastavnom času, EER može imati za cilj podizanje svesti o nekom problemu (Chang, 2019), upoznavanje učenika sa određenim temama (Guckian et al., 2020;Mac Gregor, 2018;Walsh & Spence, 2018) ili podučavanje/utvrđivanje gradiva (Cain, 2019;Duggins, 2019;Lopez-Pernas et al., 2019). EER može da stvori okruženje u kom učenici mogu da konstruišu znanje uz manje stresa i preuzmaju aktivniju ulogu u poređenju sa drugim tradicionalnim aktivnostima učenja (Brady & Andersen, 2019;Roman et al. 2020). ...
... Rezultati analize skale i evidencionog lista iznova pokazuju da su učesnici EER-a pozitivno naklonjeni toj nastavnoj aktivnosti (Brady & Andersen, 2019;Kinio et al., 2019;Peleg et al., 2019;Walsh & Spence, 2018). Nalazi potvrđuju da se EER uspešno može koristiti za obradu, utvrđivanje i ponavljanje gradiva (Cain, 2019;Duggins, 2019;Guckian et al., 2020;Lopez-Pernas et al., 2019;Mac Gregor, 2018;Walsh & Spence, 2018). Povezanost varijabli nas navodi na zaključak da studenti EER smatraju posebno korisnim za učenje, savladavanje i obnavljanje gradiva. ...
Full-text available
The educational escape room presents an innovative approach to teaching, with potential benefits such as facilitating learning, motivating students, and promoting the development of general and professional skills. However, due to its novelty in the realm of education, there is limited empirical research on this teaching activity. Our study aims to investigate the didactic possibilities of using the educational escape room to teach German language at the university level. We designed tasks that corresponded to the language skills of 19 first-year students and incorporated them into a German language course. During the 60-minute activity, we observed the participants and then conducted a survey consisting of 11 scaled items. Using the SPSS programme, we analysed the survey data. Our results show that the educational escape room has both positive and negative aspects. While participants rated the activity positively because they were able to process and review lesson material effectively and because collaborative learning was encouraged, some had difficulty focusing on tasks while learning together. Overall, we recommend the use of the escape game as a teaching tool at tertiary level, but at the same time we would like to emphasise that more research is needed to better understand its didactic significance and to mitigate the negative effects.
... College students' political education is an important part of college moral education, which has a direct impact on college's whole progress of education work, especially on the students' moral education [1]. In recent years, artificial intelligence has aroused great interest of scholars at home and abroad [2]. Many countries have done a lot of research on it, and formulated corresponding policies and strategies [3]. ...
Full-text available
Deep neural network-based decision support has been more prevalent in many cross-discipline applications, as their strong computation ability can facilitate knowledge discovery and rule mining. In this context, this work explores its utilization to the field of education quality evaluation, in order to bring more automatic elements for this purpose. Therefore, a BP neural network-assisted smart decision method for education quality is proposed in this paper. Specifically, the method of questionnaires is utilized to screen indicators, expert evaluation method is adopted to determine the weight of evaluation indexes, and a comprehensive education evaluation index system is accordingly built. After constructing a complete evaluation system, this paper establishes an evaluation model of ideological and political education by using BP neural network algorithm and takes University as an example to compare the performance of W University students before and after applying the model. This model has been applied and demonstrated, and the evaluation way of college teaching quality has been innovated. At last, some simulation experiments are carried out for further assessment, and the results show that the proposal can work well in terms of automatic education quality evaluation.
Full-text available
The PBE 2022 proceedings follows the, considerably long, line of books which have been shaping the landscape of student activation methods in Central Europe and beyond. In this year’s proceedings, authors yet again targeted original project and inquiry-based topics, nevertheless, new issues emerged too. The idea of chemistry (science) escape room or field trips were inspected. Moreover, authors brought STEM topic to the mix, others focused on the phenomenon of open schooling. It is obvious, the topics spread from original chemistry and biology foci as disciplines’ integration brings the much needed context to sometimes too school-like topics. The authors published in this proceedings used variety of research methods from both quantitative and qualitative areas. The contributions therefore offer some more inspiration how to grasp the effect of student-activation methods in education. Hand in hand with the aforementioned development of other topics appearing in the proceedings are several papers which did not focus directly on the student activation methods but rather on the “other issues of science education”. This trend will continue to be supported in the years to come as the impact of the PBE conference is steadily growing.
Computer programming languages are becoming more indispensable as our world becomes more computerized. This paper highlights the importance of the factors affecting programming learning difficulties. A survey method was employed to measure the relationships between variables related to programming learning difficulties. A total of 227 students studying for a computer programming diploma at Umm Al-Qura University in Saudi Arabia were surveyed for this purpose. The methodology for the study was structural equation modeling, and AMOS software was used to test the structural and measurement model and study the interlinkages between variables. The theoretical framework employed in this study comprised the technology acceptance model and experiential learning theory. The indirect factors were English language competency, learning materials, educational facilities, and teaching practices. The study concluded that the interactions of these factors explain the programming learning difficulties experienced by students enrolled in programming courses. Moreover, the factors which had the greatest effect on programming learning difficulty were English language competency and educational facilities. Therefore, the factors mentioned above should be considered by educational institutions for enhancement and ongoing development because of their connection with the programming learning difficulties experienced by students.KeywordsProgramming languagelearning difficultieslearning environmentsteachinglearning materials
The banking industry performs credit score analysis as an efficient credit risk assessment method to determine a customer’s creditworthiness. In the banking industry, machine learning could be used for a variety of uses involving data analysis. A method of data analysis that is capable of self-regulation has been made possible by the development of modern techniques, such as classification approaches. The classification method is a form of supervised learning in which the computer acquires knowledge from the provided input data and then utilizes it to classify the dataset, which is used for training purposes. This study presents a comparative analysis of the various machine learning algorithms that are utilized to evaluate credit risk. The methods are used by utilizing the German Credit dataset that was collected from Kaggle, which consists of 1,000 instances and 11 attributes, all of which are used to determine if transactions are good or bad. The findings of data analysis using Logistic Regression, Linear Discriminant Analysis, Gaussian Naive Bayes, K-Nearest Neighbors Classifier, Decision Tree Classifier, Support Vector Machines, and Random Forest are compared and contrasted in this study. The findings demonstrated that the Random Forest algorithm forecasted credit risk effectively.KeywordsCredit RiskBankingMachine LearningPredictionFeatures
Full-text available
En el ámbito universitario es habitual encontrarse con asignaturas donde, por determinadas circunstancias, el absentismo es alto. Buscando el objetivo de fomentar la participación y asistencia, se diseña un juego basado en pistas, tipo cluedo, que reta al estudiante y le motiva a participar, situándole además en el centro de proceso de aprendizaje. La experiencia se pone en práctica en la asignatura de Informática Aplicada a la Empresa del Grado en ADE-Derecho de la Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, en el primer cuatrimestre del curso 2022-2023. Participan 33 estudiantes de 39 matriculados. Su diseño abarca diferentes fases, necesitando el alumnado resolver una serie de enigmas a través de pistas que proporciona el profesor. Los resultados de tipo descriptivo de la metodología utilizada, de corte cuantitativo, son satisfactorios, comprobándose un aumento significativo en participación a nivel grupal, y posteriormente una repercusión positiva en las calificaciones, mejorando el rendimiento académico medio del grupo. Se concluye que, cuando se introducen en el aula actividades que sacan de la rutina al estudiante, se consigue no solo una buena aceptación del reto sino aumentar su motivación, siendo además una experiencia perfectamente trasladable a otras materias y titulaciones.
This chapter investigates the potential of educational escape rooms in higher education exploring the theoretical frameworks surrounding their design, outcomes, and future directions. The primary purpose is to provide educators with an understanding of how these immersive experiences can enhance learning and engagement. The chapter delves into relevant theoretical frameworks, including constructivism, experiential learning, game-based learning, and social learning which underpin the effectiveness of educational escape rooms. The chapter also offers practical recommendations and discusses emerging opportunities for incorporating escape rooms into various educational contexts. By examining the multifaceted aspects of educational escape rooms, this chapter aims to support educators in leveraging these innovative tools to create engaging learning experiences and foster positive student outcomes.
Professional development for teachers in English medium instruction (EMI) universities is challenging in a multilingual and multicultural environment. This chapter introduces a case study using a digital escape room, a game-based instructional resource that aims to support interactive teacher education in a Sino-British EMI university, namely, Xian Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU). XJTLU has adopted, as a guiding educational philosophy, HeXie, a pedagogical model that integrates aspects of eastern and western cultures. In accordance with this model, in a postgraduate certificate programme (PGCert) offered to all EMI lecturers and instructors, the digital escape room has been designed to introduce trainees to the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) and the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) using H5P through the Moodle-based learning management system.H5P is an open-source emerging learning technology that has been integrated with Moodle since 2017 (see It provides quick and easy interactive quizzes, presentations, and visualised knowledge test games to enrich learner engagement in the hybrid learning environment (Wehling J et al, BMC Med Educ 21(1):351, 2021). Mainly, H5P allows designers to create seamless, user-friendly online interfaces for learning. Since its launch, more than 18 million users have registered on the H5P community website, and more than 700 organisations have used H5P to create easier and quicker online interactions (Magro J, J Med Libr Assoc 109(2):351–354, 2021).First, we discuss the benefits of using the digital escape room to motivate lecturers and instructors’ intercultural communication and self-directed learning in EMI teacher education. Next, we discuss the general challenges and difficulties of integrating the digital escape room solution in curriculum design, instructional development, technological deployment, synchronous and asynchronous learning activity creation, teaching delivery and assessment support in a hybrid learning environment. Educators and practitioners can benefit from critical reflections, recommended good practices, and tips for future development.KeywordsDigital escape roomEnglish as a Medium of Instruction (EMI)Chinese Higher EducationTPACKUKPSF
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Background As health professions education evolves toward active learning environments, interest in using games as an educational tool is increasing. One contemporary commercial game that has design potential for learning activities is an “escape” or “breakout” room. Escape rooms are live-action games where teams of players work to achieve a common goal in a set amount of time. Limited literature is available assessing this type of gaming format for education design. This study investigated the design and implementation of an escape room learning activity in a third-year pharmacy infectious disease elective course at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. Methods During a Gram-positive antimicrobial resistance module, third-year pharmacy students participated in both patient case-based instruction and an escape room learning activity. Three IRB-approved surveys were distributed electronically to students; the first was completed prior to class and functioned as a standard teaching tool to assess mastery of content based on pre-assigned reading and previous coursework. Two surveys were completed after the session to assess knowledge and perceptions gained during each learning activity. Students answered multiple-choice knowledge-based questions and then responded to five statements using a Likert scale from 1 to 7 (1 = Not at all, 4 = Somewhat, and 7 = Very much) to indicate perceptions of each instructional activity. Results Nineteen students participated in the study. The mean correct scores for knowledge-based assessment were 90.5% in the pre-class survey, 82.1% in the post-case survey, and 90.5% in the post-escape room survey. There was an overall positive perception of both learning activities based on results of the survey questions. The escape room learning activity was preferred by 18 of 19 students (94.7%), but only 11 of 19 (57.9%) indicated they learned better from the escape room. Conclusion This study illustrates an escape room designed to meet lecture learning objectives is a feasible active learning technique. While students demonstrated knowledge gained from the activity and indicated positive perceptions, this approach warrants further evaluation. Disclosures All authors: No reported disclosures.
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ABSTRACT According to the m-learning paradigm, Mobile Learning Objects (MLOs) are fundamental elements within the teaching-learning process. In this context, the integration of technology such as augmented reality (AR), incorporates an additional value to an MLO, generating by this, more interactive and attractive learning environments, which promotes higher involvement and engagement by being immersed in a virtually enhanced world. Our research postulates that the development of such MLOs must be based on standards, methodologies and/or a layered software architecture which provide the adequate mechanisms to achieve the structure and quality attributes needed. Specifically, this paper presents the design and development of such architecture which allows to obtain MLO complying with the requirements and quality attributes. To achieve that, the architecture is composed of five layers: data persistence, learning personalization, interactivity, general structure, and standards. The layers are independent among them and the lower layers provide services to upper layers. In order to probe the benefits of the architecture, two prototypes of MLOs with AR were implemented and evaluated by a 20 master’s degree students focusing on of pedagogical, technological and usability aspects. The results show that the architecture contributes no only to integrate AR in MLOs but more importantly to obtain MLOs with the quality attributes required as a digital educational resource.
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In the present study, we present a virtual learning laboratory environment for undergraduate mathematics education using an inquiry-based learning approach. The Visible Thinking pedagogical framework is also suggested to achieve a good complement to traditional lecture-tutorial systems. The virtual laboratory is implemented in an open-access Java interactive software. We demonstrate a viable instruction procedure, providing a set of virtual laboratory activities with real-world applications spanning signal processing, data science and analytics, sustainable infrastructure engineering, and theoretical physics. A preliminary study on a pilot cohort indicates that the proposed virtual laboratory can enhance students’ learning. The virtual laboratory implementation is scalable and can be easily expanded in scope to other mathematical topics; transitioning to a tablet-based system for use in smart classrooms is also readily achieved. The Java interactive software is freely available on Open Science Framework.
Incoming first-year engineering students at the University of Toronto often have difficulty navigating the library and its resources. Orientation activities at the Engineering & Computer Science Library are designed to introduce students to the library in an informal and entertaining way. In 2017, as a result of dropping interest in previous years' orientation activities, librarians at the Engineering & Computer Science Library collaborated with instructors and staff in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering to develop an orientation activity grounded in curriculum and based on the popular escape room game. Core library services and engineering resources were used to build a challenging program that introduced students to basic, but essential, research skills. Voluntary student participation in the game exceeded previous years' participation and all expectations of the game designers.
Interactive education strategies have been shown to be more effective in increasing knowledge of disaster preparedness than dissemination of written materials and lectures. To educate college students at a university, an earthquake-themed escape room was designed and implemented as part of a campuswide preparedness event. A total of 113 people (96% students) participated in the escape room activity and postgame educational lecture. A single-group postdesign was used to evaluate outcomes (earthquake reaction knowledge, knowledge of mitigation strategies for the home, knowledge of emergency kit supplies, intention to engage in preparedness activities). A majority of participants had not been exposed to a prior disaster preparedness workshop or class. Posttest results showed earthquake reaction knowledge and knowledge of mitigation strategies were high. Most participants attributed their knowledge gained to the interactive escape room. A majority of participants reported intentions of starting or updating an emergency kit. Findings suggest the escape room intervention has potential for increasing disaster preparedness knowledge among college students.
Conference Paper
Interactive web-based learning resources created according to e-Learning standards like SCORM can benefit students, teachers and the whole education system in a wide variety of ways. Although the use of authoring tools is the preferable way to create these resources since it does not require authors to have strong computer skills, the created resources are very limited in terms of customization and functionality. Therefore, on many occasions web-based learning resources still need to be created by developers using web technologies. Despite this fact, little work has been done to provide developers with resources to facilitate the creation of web-based learning resources compliant with e-Learning standards, especially for novel web technologies like React. This paper presents RESCORM ( a boilerplate for creating SCORM-compliant React applications that aims to facilitate developers the creation of SCORM-compliant learning resources. This paper also presents the results of a survey conducted among nine developers who used RESCORM to create learning resources and the results of an evaluation of two resources developed using RESCORM that were used in an online course. These results show that RESCORM achieved high user acceptance and was perceived as very useful, and that the resources created with RESCORM were rated high in terms of usefulness.
Background: According to previous studies on nursing education, although the use of games can produce positive results, the vast majority are based on questions and answers or on clinical situations. As an alternative, the ‘Escape Room’ teaching game is a much more dynamic option to asses theoretical and practical knowledge, and it may also promote teamwork and the ability to perform under pressure. Objectives: To analyse nursing students’ opinions and study motivations after using the nursing ‘Escape Room’ teaching game. Design: Cross-sectional descriptive study. Participants: Second-year nursing students enrolled in the ‘Adult Nursing 1’ subject. Method: After completing the teaching game, the students who had taken part in it were asked to fill in an ad-hoc questionnaire on the matter. In this game, students have 30 min in which they must solve the riddles and puzzles presented, and thus escape. In doing so, they must demonstrate both theoretical and practical knowledge, and a teacher will remain in the classroom to assess whether the nursing techniques in question are correctly performed. Results: The nursing students who took part in the game strongly believed that this ‘helped them learn the subject’ (4.8 points) and that ‘more games of this type should be included in their nursing studies’ (4.8 points). Overall, they considered that ‘the game was enjoyable’ (4.6 points), ‘helped them in the exam’ (4.6 points), and ‘motivated them to study’ (4.5 points). Conclusions: The ‘Escape Room’ is a useful game; it stimulates learning, is fun to play, and motivates studying.