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Escape Rooms for Learning: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Following the recent shift from traditional didactic classroom models to the adoption of active learning approaches, escape rooms and breakout games are increasingly being used in academia as a method for experiential, peer-group, game-based learning. Although they have the potential to enable new forms of teaching and transform the learning experience, escape rooms are a relatively new concept and there is not a substantial amount of work exploring their tendencies, affordances, and challenges on education. This paper addresses the lack of empirical evidence on the impact of escape rooms on educational settings by presenting a systematic review of 68 peer-reviewed studies published in scientific journals and conference proceedings between 2009 and April 2019. To analyse and critically appraise the current state of knowledge and practice in educational escape rooms, it considers aspects such as fields of education, target audience, game type and location, time limit, team size, and study results. The systematic review also highlights the advantages and challenges of these new learning activities, as well as their positive impact on student motivation and soft skills development. The analysis indicates that educational escape rooms can provide an enjoyable experience that immerses students as active participants in the learning environment. Additionally, they give learners the opportunity to engage in an activity that rewards teamwork, creativity, decision-making, leadership, communication, and critical thinking. Although instructional design for educational escape rooms is complex and time consuming, once the game has been developed it can be further applied in successive years. The results of this work aim to lay the groundwork for educators and other stakeholders by offering new insights with effective advice and recommendations for the successful incorporation of escape rooms into their teaching strategies.
Escape Rooms for Learning: A Systematic Review
Panagiotis Fotaris1, Theodoros Mastoras2
1 School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, University of Brighton, Brighton, UK.
2 Department of Applied Informatics, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece.
p.fotaris@brighton.ac.uk
mastoras@uom.edu.gr
Abstract: Following the recent shift from traditional didactic classroom models to the adoption of active learning
approaches, escape rooms and breakout games are increasingly being used in academia as a method for
experiential, peer-group, game-based learning. Although they have the potential to enable new forms of
teaching and transform the learning experience, escape rooms are a relatively new concept and there is not a
substantial amount of work exploring their tendencies, affordances, and challenges on education. This paper
addresses the lack of empirical evidence on the impact of escape rooms on educational settings by presenting a
systematic review of 68 peer-reviewed studies published in scientific journals and conference proceedings
between 2009 and April 2019. To analyse and critically appraise the current state of knowledge and practice in
educational escape rooms, it considers aspects such as fields of education, target audience, game type and
location, time limit, team size, and study results. The systematic review also highlights the advantages and
challenges of these new learning activities, as well as their positive impact on student motivation and soft skills
development. The analysis indicates that educational escape rooms can provide an enjoyable experience that
immerses students as active participants in the learning environment. Additionally, they give learners the
opportunity to engage in an activity that rewards teamwork, creativity, decision-making, leadership,
communication, and critical thinking. Although instructional design for educational escape rooms is complex
and time consuming, once the game has been developed it can be further applied in successive years. The results
of this work aim to lay the groundwork for educators and other stakeholders by offering new insights with
effective advice and recommendations for the successful incorporation of escape rooms into their teaching
strategies.
Keywords: escape room, breakout game, game-based learning, systematic review, gamification
1. Introduction
As ‘Digital Natives’, students of today think and process information differently, thus providing a challenge to
their teachers who often experience difficulties in keeping them motivated and engaged through conventional
taught learning. There is an acute need for educational innovations and ideas to make a meaningful impact on
the students’ educational experience (Serdyukov, 2017). Therefore, traditional education is giving way to the
use of approaches that have reportedly sustained high levels of motivation and engagement in the classroom,
such as integrating educational content within game-based context. Findings of independent experiments
performed in secondary and higher education settings showed that students who were subjects to learning with
video games reported significant improvements in subject understanding, diligence, and motivation (Fotaris et
al., 2016). Additionally, Barata et al. (2013) suggest that students who have taken part in a gamified learning
course have increased attendance rates, report higher levels of enjoyment and find learning more interesting.
Game-based learning (GBL) takes advantage of gaming technologies and techniques to create a fun, motivating,
and interactive virtual learning environment that promotes situated experiential learning. Unlike the one-size-
fits-all lectures, GBL can be balanced to suit the learners’ skill-level in order to prevent them from becoming
frustrated or bored and to allow them to experience flow, a state of optimal experience for learning
(Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). Although GBL also comprises non-digital examples, an overwhelming proportion of
GBL research has been devoted to digital GBL, a field that aims at integrating educational elements into
computer games and/or digital simulations. While researchers have agreed on the potential of such solutions
for both instructional teaching and the exploration of new topics (Giang et al., 2018), most digital educational
games are individual and do not develop team building or group communication (Dietrich, 2018). Nevertheless,
research into the design, development, and evaluation of non-digital GBL applications still remains scarcer than
research surrounding their digital counterparts (Clarke et al., 2017). However, this trend is beginning to change,
mainly due to the rising popularity of escape rooms and their adoption in educational settings which allows to
implement more tangible and human-centred activities.
2. Background
Borrowing elements from point-and-click adventure games, live-action role-playing, interactive theatre,
treasure hunts, movies, and TV shows, an escape room is “a live-action team-based game 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” (Nicholson 2015). Despite the name, it is not universal for
the theme to be escape-based. Players maybe called upon to solve a crime, save a fictional character or find
something. Escape rooms are one type of escape games, which are narrative-based challenges that use puzzles,
tasks, and a time limit. Other types include puzzlehunts, breakout boxes, escape books, Augmented/Virtual
Reality (AR/VR) escape rooms, or portable escape-rooms-in-a-box where most of the puzzles are contained in a
box so that players can have the same immersive and challenging experience in the comfort of their home.
Despite being a relatively new concept, escape rooms have become immensely popular in recent years. They
were firstly used in Japan in 2007 and grew rapidly in the last 5 years, exploding from 2,800 rooms throughout
the world in 2015 to over 7,200 in 2018 (Kroski, 2019). From a pedagogical point of view, escape rooms are
based on a social-constructivist approach (Vygotsky, 1978). Learners construct their own knowledge based on
real-time experiences of advancing through several challenges in the escape room; they are called to face new
and often complex problems, which can be solved by interacting with their peers and getting support from their
tutor. The latter can play the role of Game Designer, structuring the learning environment and/or the role of
Game Master, providing instructional scaffolding to the learners by facilitating the students’ interaction with the
material and with each other (Giang et al., 2018).
With that in mind, it may come as no surprise that escape rooms have begun to gain traction in academia.
However, it is not feasible or legal to lock a subset of a class in a room and wait until they puzzle their way out.
As a compromise, many escape rooms designed for the classroom have been stripped back to a group table-top
activity involving a series of locked boxes (Schaffhauser, 2017). While this type of activity loses the complete
immersion of a true escape room, it can still provide a motivating and educationally beneficial experience for
students when designed appropriately (Clarke et al., 2017). Academically focused escape-style scenarios were
popularised by Breakout EDU, an immersive learning games platform founded in 2015 that provides escape
room kits for instructors (Rouse, 2017). Educational institutions and libraries have started to integrate this
initiative into their programmes (Walsh and Spence, 2018) or to develop their own educational escape rooms
(López-Pernas et al., 2019). An educational escape room/game can be defined as an instructional method
requiring learners to participate in collaborative playful activities explicitly designed for domain knowledge
acquisition or skill development so that they can accomplish a specific goal (e.g., escape from a physical room or
break into a box) by solving puzzles linked to unambiguous learning objectives in a limited amount of time”.
Having a shared environment for players to work together on a game designed around specific learning
outcomes sets the groundwork for active learning.
3. Motivation and rationale for the study
The last 3 years have seen the development of an increasing number of educational escape rooms with satisfying
results, such as improved communication, collaboration, engagement, and student satisfaction (Friedrich et al.,
2018). However, due to their novelty, studies on empirical work or the educational significance of such activities
are still limited. Literature about their efficacy and usefulness as an educational tool appears to be very sparse
and a systematic review on educational escape rooms has yet to be published (Giang et al., 2018; Sanchez &
Plumettaz-Sieber, 2019). The present study addresses this issue by being the first systematic review that
performs a synthesis of the relevant research on educational escape rooms published from 2009 to April 2019
in order to identify and illustrate the opportunities they offer as an instructional tool. Within this context, the
research questions that guided this study were the following:
RQ1: What are the trends of educational escape rooms?
RQ2: What are the main characteristics of an educational escape room?
RQ3: What are the advantages and challenges of using escape rooms in educational settings?
4. Research methodology
The guidelines proposed by Kitchenham (2007) were adapted for the purposes of this systematic review using
the following steps: Planning; Conducting the review; and Reporting the review. Analysis of the results and the
discussion of findings, trends and conclusions regarding the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews
and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement recommendation (Moher et al., 2009).
4.1 Planning
This initial step was used to identify the most relevant literature to answer the research questions. For that
reason, we accomplished an iterative double check focused on peer-reviewed journals indexed in the Social
Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) database, and peer-reviewed conference proceedings indexed in the Conference
Proceedings Citation Index-Science (CPCI-S) database. The search process spanned from December 2018 to April
2019 and was conducted using electronic databases of authoritative academic resources and publishers,
including Scopus, Web of Science, Science Direct, Google Scholar, and ERIC. The inclusion and exclusion criteria
are presented in Table 1.
Escape rooms are sometimes known as escape games, room escape games, exit games, breakout games etc.
Currently there is no consensus on what to call this type of games, therefore the search keywords included terms
and variations for escape rooms in conjunction with terms for possible outcomes, impacts or effects of playing
escape games for learning. For example, a query used in Scopus is the following:
("room escape" OR "escape room*" OR "escape game*" OR "game escape" OR "breakout EDU" OR "breakout
game*" OR “breakout box” OR “exit game”) AND (learn* OR class* OR teach* OR train* OR educat*)
Finally, the following categories for analysis and data coding were defined to assist grouping of all relevant
studies based on their shared characteristics: target group; subject area; advantages/challenges of educational
escape rooms.
4.2 Conducting and reporting the review
After removing the duplicate records, the search procedure yielded 169 results. These articles were initially
screened based on their abstract; they were then carefully read by both authors to identify their suitability for
the study. The quality of the collected literature was subsequently assessed using the following rigorous
quantitative/qualitative rules (Pellas et al., 2018):
Appropriateness of the research methods and analysis of the study results;
In-depth illustration of the followed methodology;
Sufficient presentation of the findings;
Adequacy of the research questions;
Alignment of the study findings with the research questions.
Based on the combination of the above rules, 68 of the 169 retrieved articles were identified as relevant to the
purpose of this review and were selected for this study (Fig. 1). 46 of them were published in international
journals (67.6%) and 22 in conference proceedings (32.4%). The data extraction and data synthesis were carried
out by reading these 68 papers thoroughly; a data extraction spreadsheet was designed to store the following
elements: study name, year and type of publication, target audience, field of education, team size, location, time
limit, game type, theme, briefing, debriefing, research questions, evaluation methods, sample size, advantages,
challenges, and main findings.
Figure 1. Flowchart for the article selection process
Due to the diversity of the research methods used for instructional design, samples, and data collection, it was
not possible to undertake an accurate meta-analysis. However, the overall results were synthesised to extract
the main themes under which the findings of the review are identified and presented. To assess interrater
reliability with respect to the quality coding of the papers, all papers were coded independently by the two
authors. The interrater reliability (IRR) for the total scores was attained using Cohen’s kappa (Cohen, 1968); this
value was 0.91, showing good agreement between the two authors. Any disagreements were resolved by
consensus. The final stage included the analysis of the results and the discussion of findings that answered the
research questions of the study.
5. Results
5.1 Trends of educational escape rooms
Evolution over time: Of the 68 studies selected for the systematic review, 1 study was published in 2009 (1.5%),
3 in 2016 (4.4%), 15 in 2017 (22.1%), 25 in 2018 (36.8%), and 24 were published by the end of April 2019 (35.3%)
(Fig. 2). Assuming that the publication rate will remain the same throughout 2019, the projected number of
publications for 2019 should be around 72, which is almost three times the total number of publications for
2018. The search indicates that studies are being published at an increasing rate on a yearly basis with no signs
of slowing down. It is interesting to note that although the first paper on educational escape games was
published in 2009 (Hsu et al.), new articles on this topic were not published before 2016, which is around the
time escape rooms began to gain momentum in popularity as a social entertainment activity.
Fig. 2: Studies related to the application of escape rooms in education per year
Year
Number
of studies
Percentage (%)
2009
1
1.5%
0
0%
2016
3
4.4%
2017
15
22.1%
2018
25
36.8%
2019 (Jan - Apr)
24
35.3%
Target audience: The target audience for most studies was higher education students (72.1%), followed by
secondary (11.8%) and primary education students (7.3%), the general public (7.3%), and staff members (1.5%)
(Table 2). This can possibly be attributed to the fact that universities usually have better resources and more
research-focused staff compared to schools and are therefore more likely to lead the way in high quality
research. However, based on the eagerness with which schoolteachers have adopted escape rooms in their
classes as evidenced by the popularity of Breakout EDU (Rouse, 2017), these numbers may soon change.
Fields of education: To identify the domain of the educational escape rooms, our classification was based on the
broad fields of education proposed by the International Standard Classification of Education ISCED (UNESCO,
2013). Collected data in Table 3 show that most educational escape rooms cover subjects related to the broad
field of Health and welfare (29.4%), focusing on Nursing (Hermanns et al., 2017) and Medicine (Zhang et al.,
2019). Natural sciences, mathematics and statistics come second (22.1%), with Chemistry being the most
popular topic in this field (Peleg et al., 2019). 19.1% of the studies focused on Social sciences, journalism and
information, including several studies about Library orientation (Walsh and Spence, 2018), which is an emerging
topic for educational escape rooms. Information and Communication Technologies (14.7%) are represented by
escape rooms covering topics such as information literacy (Pun, 2017), programming (López-Pernas et al., 2019),
computer networks (Borego et al., 2017), and cryptography (Ho, 2018).
5.2 Main characteristics of educational escape rooms
Game type: Since their inception, escape rooms were created to exist in physical, digital, or mixed realities (i.e.,
a new environment in which physical and digital objects coexist). Mainly due to the relatively low cost of props
(e.g., locks, boxes, paper-based puzzles, etc.) and faster development time, 76.5% of the escape rooms in the
selected studies are physical, i.e., using only physical objects (e.g., Friedrich et al., 2018). 13.2% are hybrid,
offering both physical (e.g., locks, boxes etc.) and virtual objects (e.g., QR codes, social media platforms etc.)
that contained puzzle clues (e.g., Hermanns et al., 2017). Finally, 10.6% are digital games (e.g., Guo et al., 2017).
Although physical escape rooms are by far the most popular type of escape rooms, hybrid escape rooms using
AR/VR are expected to increase once these technologies become more mature.
Location: Results in Table 5 reveal that 78.9% of the escape games took place in the classroom or in a lab. From
a logistical point of view this might be a direct consequence of the space limitations often addressed in
educational institutions, which prevent an escape room from having its own dedicated and permanent space,
thus requiring the game to be portable or quick and easy to set up and take down (Sundsbø, K. 2019). Moreover,
when an escape game is played in the classroom students are not required to travel to a different location to
participate. Library buildings and hospital rooms are the second and third most common locations, respectively,
which correlates with the aforementioned findings about the popularity of escape rooms focusing on Library
orientation, Nursing, and Medicine. Other locations include a whole campus with puzzles being spread out over
several departments (Mac Gregor, 2018), a commercial escape room, and a factory building.
Time limit: 52 out of the 68 reviewed studies provided information about the escape room’s time limit. As shown
in Table 6, most participants had 15-120 minutes to complete the game, excluding any additional time spent for
briefing and debriefing activities. The only exceptions were a breakout game with no time limit (Bartlett and
Anderson, 2019) and an escape game running over the course of 3 weeks (Mac Gregor, 2018). 78.8% of the
escape rooms lasted one hour or less, which supports previous findings (López-Pernas et al., 2019). The majority
of studies (36.5%) used the 60-minute time limit typically found in commercial escape rooms, as this allows for
a sufficient number of puzzles to be used, offers ample time for students to work as a team, and fits into one
hour of instruction. In most of these cases escape room activities usually took place during two-hour sessions
that also allowed for briefing/debriefing sessions to be conducted. 30.8% of the reviewed escape rooms had a
time limit of 30-50 minutes and 11.5% lasted 20-25 minutes. These shorter time limits can be attributed to time
constraints; when the available time is restricted to one hour, games have to be shorter to include
briefing/debriefing sessions or to be reset if the activity has to be conducted in multiple time slots for large
groups (Walsh and Spence, 2018). Additionally, shorter games require less development time. Games lasting 75-
120 minutes were less frequent (17.3%) because besides the obvious logistical issues they can result in
student fatigue (Hsu et al., 2009). However, longer games can give tutors the opportunity to use more
meaningful challenges that require more time and effort to be solved (López-Pernas et al., 2019).
Team size: This refers to the number of participants in the escape room. Besides 5 studies about single-player
digital escape rooms (9.8%), team size in all other studies ranged from 2 to 14 players, with the exception of an
escape game ran in a campus that had no team size limitation (Mac Gregor, 2018). Results in Table 7 reveal that
most teams had 5 players (27.5%) or more. Compared to the average team size of 4.58 people for commercial
escape rooms (Nicholson, 2015), teams in educational escape rooms tend to be bigger. This is mainly due to
constraints imposed by classroom size, time, and facilities. Conducting an escape room activity with large
cohorts means that several sessions have to take place, which can be a logistical nightmare. As a result, team
size compromises often have to be made, which can affect student participation (Adams et al., 2018).
5.3 Advantages and challenges of using escape rooms in educational environments
All 68 studies reported at least one advantage, but the majority of them listed more. As expected, educational
escape rooms were found to promote teamwork and collaboration (41.2%) (Ho, 2018), as well as produce high
levels of enjoyment (38.3%) (Peleg et al., 2019) and engagement (32.4%) (Zhang et al., 2019). Students reported
learning gain (30.9%) (Walsh and Spence, 2018) and increased motivation (29.4%) as they found learning
through play more interesting. Another common advantage was social interaction and communication (27.9%);
the escape room activity reinforced and strengthened social relationships, which helped establish a sense of
belonging. Improved analytical skills such as critical thinking (Adams et al., 2018), problem-solving (16.2%) and
creativity (Foster and Warwick, 2018) (10.3%) were also signalled as a major advantage (16.2%), while natural
leadership behaviours have reportedly emerged in several studies (10.3%). Finally, the results show that escape
rooms can be reused several times with different groups (10.3%) and provide a supplemental method for
reviewing material (10.3%) (Kinio et al., 2017).
48 of the selected studies (70.6%) reported some challenges when using escape rooms in educational settings.
The most reported challenge refers to poor evaluation (33.8%); the majority of studies lacked a control group
and resorted to surveys addressing the students’ perception of the escape room and how it impacted their
learning of the concept. This could produce biased results as it was sometimes difficult to obtain a sufficient
number of responses. Even in cases where experimental design or pre-post tests were used the results could
not lead to safe conclusions due to small sample sizes. Time commitment was also an issue (25%), as the
intellectual and physical labour involved in the creation of an escape room make it a labour-intensive and high
resource process that may not appeal to many educators. Other reported challenges include small sample sizes
(20.6%) and limited resources such as room or facilitator availability (14.7%). Due to time constraints, poor
design, or limited playtesting, occasionally games had unbalanced difficulty (11.8%) and felt too short/too long
(10.3%). Involving students in the game creation to ensure age- and developmentally-appropriate puzzles could
address this problem. Timing issues were also reported (8.8%); having a few minutes to set the game when
running events to tight schedules was often stressful for staff. Although educational escape rooms can be cheap
to build, budget limitations were still reported (7.4%). Finally, large group sizes presented logistical challenges,
as it was difficult for instructors to conduct the activity in multiple time slots or for participants to deeply engage
with the tasks (5.9%).
6. Discussion and conclusion
This work presents a systematic literature review of 68 studies focused on educational escape rooms. Results
seem to indicate that escape rooms are innovative, active, collaborative and constructivist instructional
approaches that can shape learning more powerfully than conventional teaching. They help learners understand
the value of seeing problems from different perspectives, expose them to collaborative teamwork, promote
engagement and persistence on task, strengthen social relationships, activate team spirit, and facilitate benefits
of deep learning through group discussion.
The need for participants to work together to succeed in a time-pressured but fun environment allows students
to develop communication skills; it can also reduce the “free-rider” problem (i.e., students who reap the benefits
of, but do not contribute to, the group’s work), which is one of the common complaints among both instructors
and students regarding traditional group-based learning activities. Additionally, escape rooms provide a
platform for bringing technology to the classroom, as websites, videos, or other interactive digital material can
easily be incorporated into the various puzzle of the escape activity.
Creating puzzles that address the learning objectives and force students to engage with the material instead of
just searching for clues requires time and thought. Once the game has been developed though, it can be used
repeatedly in successive years. Any implementations of educational escape rooms should include pilot testing
in order to estimate the time required to complete the game and to identify any errors that could prevent
successful completion.
Throughout the studentsparticipation in the escape room, the debriefing stage is their only opportunity for
reflection; without reflection, experience cannot lead to long-term learning. Surprisingly, only 27 (39.7%) of the
reported studies included debriefing in their escape room experience and only 15 (22.1%) provided details of its
implementation. Further studies incorporating debriefing and with more rigorous evaluation are needed to
confirm the educational value for different designs, different types of content, and in different settings.
Additional research is also necessary to begin to gauge the “return of investment” of time and resources in
relation to the achieved outcomes.
In conclusion, the present review intends to contribute to instructional education design by providing evidence
of escape rooms’ potential to support teaching and learning across different disciplines. The results may extend
the road map for further research, offer new insights to researchers, and provide educators with effective advice
and suggestions on how to incorporate escape rooms into their practice.
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... Research conducted in this area has shown not only grammar learning effectiveness through the use of online games combined with riddles and puzzles designed with a high level of difficulty to teach curricular content (Wichadee & Pattanapichet, 2018) but also better results in terms of skill-based learning (Bartlett & Anderson, 2019;Hunt-Gómez et al., 2020;Jiménez et al., 2020;Pham et al., 2021), long-term memory (Connolly et al., 2012;O'Brien & Pitera, 2019), problem-solving skills (Manzano-León et al., 2021;Wichadee & Pattanapichet, 2018;Wiemker et al., 2015), critical thinking (Manzano-León et al., 2021) and creativity (Fotaris & Mastoras, 2019;Grande-de-Prado et al., 2021;Jiménez et al., 2020). Therefore, these benefits stated above -i.e., the grammar gains, the motivation, and the development of these cognitive skills-have led us to explore the impact of the implementation of a digital breakout, as a form of gamification-based approach, on pre-service English teachers of primary education. ...
... A breakout must meet a series of characteristics in terms of game type (physical, digital or mixed), location (classroom or lab), time limit (average of 30-60 min), and team size (5-10 members) to be considered as such (Fotaris & Mastoras, 2019). However, this can change when offered to students in an online or digital format, asking them to collaborate from home to solve a case related to a topic studied in class while relying on the internet connection to prevent face-to-face communication (Vidergor, 2021). ...
... Gamification, in general, in education has outstandingly increased in the last decade and, in an online setting, it has the potential to provide greater support for learning outside formal contexts, and for distance, lifelong, and distributed learning groups (De Freitas, 2006). Digital breakouts are characterized for being innovative, active, collaborative, and constructivist instructional approaches that can shape learning more powerfully than conventional teaching because they help learners understand the value of seeing problems from different perspectives (Fotaris & Mastoras, 2019). ...
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An educative breakout is a modified version of the popular immersive entertainment experience of escape rooms, in which game elements and game design techniques are used in non-game contexts. In educational settings, it is usually used to teach content while developing cognitive skills to improve learners' performance. This study used a mixed-methods research design to examine the effectiveness of a digital breakout to learn English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in higher education. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through several forms and surveys so that the participants could express their perceptions about this learning experience. Results showed that pre-service English teachers (N = 95) had a positive attitude towards learning grammar-related content through complex games, riddles, and puzzles. Moreover, 95.8% of them would use this teaching method in the future and 90% completed all the challenges. Therefore, it can be concluded that a gamification-based approach can be an effective and motivating way to learn EFL in higher education.
... Educational escape games (EEG) can be defined as an instructional method requiring learners to participate in collaborative playful activities explicitly designed for domain knowledge acquisition or skill development so that they can accomplish a specific goal (e.g., escape from a physical room or break into a box) by solving puzzles linked to unambiguous learning objectives in a limited amount of time (Fotaris & Mastoras, 2019, p. 236). An adaptation of the traditional game play of ERG is necessary when used in education, since it is not allowed to lock students into a room and wait until they find their way out (Fotaris & Mastoras, 2019). Therefore, educators developed solutions using physical boxes or vaults in which learners have to break in with the help of both analog and digital materials. ...
... The educational benefits of EEGs are many, ranging from fostering cognitive and affective learning outcomes to developing teamwork, problem-solving, communication and creativity skills as well as promoting career interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions (e.g., Fotaris & Mastoras, 2019;Sanchez & Plumettaz-Sieber, 2019;Veldkamp et al., 2021;Veldkamp, van de Grint, et al., 2020). Theoretically, researchers explain the positive effects of EEG considering the active learning paradigm and game-based learning theories (Nicholson, 2015(Nicholson, , 2018. ...
... Hence, further studies might include measurement of cognitive load (ICL and ECL) and motivational values to further understand the learning process of PSF instructional approaches like the one used here. Since the motivational effect of ERGs and EEGs is also identified as particularly important in the literature (Fotaris & Mastoras, 2019;Veldkamp, van de Grint, et al., 2020), further research on this would be appropriate. It would be exciting to know whether motivation is different in one of the two settings applied in this research. ...
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In this study, we investigated whether playing an escape room game after explicit instruction (instruction-first group, N = 20) is more effective to learn about copyright and media law than playing the game before explicit instruction (problem-solving-first group, N = 21). This is an important question as escape room games are complex, problem-based learning environments that can overwhelm learners and thus hinder the acquisition of knowledge and skills. According to cognitive load theory, preparing learners with explicit instruction before problem-solving activities can overcome this problem leading to better learning. However, in the productive failure paradigm problem-solving before explicit instruction is seen as more effective, especially when it comes to the application of newly acquired knowledge to solve novel problems. Based on these two theories, we conducted an experiment and found that playing the developed digital escape room game after explicit instruction was more effective for knowledge retention and domain-specific self-efficacy with at the same time lower cognitive load. However, we found no differences regarding the application of knowledge as both groups scored equally high on transfer tasks. The result is discussed considering previous productive failure studies mostly conducted in the science and engineering domain. In sum, the instruction first approach proved to be effective for both knowledge acquisition and knowledge application, leading to higher domain-specific self-efficacy and lower cognitive load. Therefore, we conclude that the implementation of escape room games after instruction is an effective instructional approach and better suited to promote learning than playing escape room games before instruction. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s41039-022-00187-x.
... On this account, the enjoyable and memorable experiences created by games applied to both the brick-and-mortar and online classroom have proven to lead to high engagement, which, in turn, leads to higher content retention, participation, intrinsic motivation, concentration and attendance rates ( (Suelves et al., 2020). Even though the tenets of game-based learning have mostly been applied to primary and secondary education, research shows that it has picked up steam among faculty members in higher education institutions (Fotaris & Mastoras, 2019;Taraldsen et al., 2020;Vlachopoulos & Makri, 2017), which has opened the door to research in this field. ...
... It is not uncommon, therefore, for escape rooms to be themebased. However, despite their name, escape rooms or break-out rooms do not necessarily need to be escape-based (Fotaris & Mastoras, 2019), hence providing educators with an area to explore regarding gamification in the classroom. ...
... This problemsolving methodology allows the learner to take centre stage of the learning experience whilst instilling 21st-century skills (Taraldsen et al., 2020). Literature on the topic shows that such immersive experiences help students to think outside the box by promoting critical thinking and problem-solving skills (Ang et al., 2020;Nicholson, 2015), Furthermore, higher engagement and achievement rates have been reported when students are involved in thinking about the problems or puzzles that they are presented with (Cain, 2019;Fotaris & Mastoras, 2019;Fuentes-Cabrera et al., 2020;Ang et al., 2020;López-Pernas et al., 2019a, 2019bMystakidis et al., 2019). ...
... In recent years, the implementation of escape room activities in undergraduate classrooms has emerged as a novel way of engaging students and promoting deep learning and as an effective online learning tool (6,7). Nicholson (see p. 1 in reference 8) defines an escape room as "a live-action team-based game 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." ...
... Nicholson (see p. 1 in reference 8) defines an escape room as "a live-action team-based game 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 an educational context, escape rooms allow learners to construct knowledge as they progress with their peers through a series of challenges designed for scaffolded learning (6), which often encompasses multiple rounds of answering questions or solving puzzles related to a particular topic, with the end goal of solving a cumulative or final puzzle. Escape rooms have been used in a variety of courses across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, many of which have been implemented online, including biology (9), engineering (10), medicine (11)(12)(13)(14), physics (15), and chemistry (16). ...
Article
ABSTRACT There has always been a need for engaging assessments in online learning environments, though the COVID-19 pandemic further emphasized this need. Instructors across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines have begun to implement escape room activities as effective and engaging learning tools in their classrooms. For our virtual introductory ecology course in spring 2021, we developed a student-designed escape room assessment which aligned with several course goals and covered a broad range of ecology concepts. The learning objectives of this assignment asked students to (i) create a themed “room” filled with ecology-based riddles and puzzles that represented a novel virtual escape room for their peers based on an important ecological topic, (ii) summarize and synthesize primary literature into clues and locks to educate their peers about an ecological topic, and (iii) use critical thinking and discussion of ecological topics with peers to solve their peers’ escape rooms. We found that while students generated distinct escape room activities and focused on various ecological topics, student scores on this assessment, as well as student feedback, indicated that the escape rooms were conducive to learning, novel, and accessible in the virtual learning environment. We suggest that student-designed escape room assessments are an effective way for students to learn course material in a fun, engaging, and creative manner, and our spring 2021 implementation suggests that this activity may be an effective assessment for online settings.
... Moreover, several lecturers and teachers have developed games, in order to enhance student learning experiences. Also, various studies are found to have been conducted, which are related to game-based learning and gamification, as well as focus on general higher education (Duggins 2019, Karageorgiou et al. 2019, & Merx et al. 2020Fotaris & Mastoras 2019) or different fields, such as computer education & science, engineering, nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy, chemistry, mathematics, history, English, generic skills, and medicine (Borrego et al. 2017& Ho 2018Queiruga-dios et al. 2020;Adams et al. 2018;Cain 2018& Eukel et al. 2017Carrión et al. 2018;Dietrich 2018;Mónica et al. 2019;Rouse 2017;Lopez-Pernas et al. 2019;Craig et al. 2019;Cotner et al., 2018). Additionally, there is also research in the field of Science or Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) (Veldkamp, Grint, et al., 2020). ...
... The study on game-based learning in elementary and secondary education is still reportedly rare, as stated by Fotaris & Mastoras (2019). However, Botturi and Babazadeh (Botturi & Babazadeh, 2020) focused on teacher education, which is related to the perceptions of game-based learning effects in secondary schools (Martens & Crawford, 2019). ...
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Many studies have developed learning media, but few studies focus on developing learning media in ele-mentary schools using Genially and studying teachers' perceptions of Genially learning media. This study aims to determine teachers' perceptions of hybrid learning media with a more accurate and precise method, namely the item response theory (IRT) from the Rasch model. The survey was carried out by distributing a Likert scale questionnaire of 19 statements. Moreover, the subjects were 45 elementary school teachers in Riau Province, Indonesia. The results showed that they positively perceived the developed genially-based learning media. Genially learning media can support teachers in teaching. Based on these results, teachers need to develop skills in making various technology-based media, in order to support hybrid learning.
... Seto's study (2018) showed that it was feasible to assess collaboration skills and reflect on them afterwards with students. For content knowledge, review studies on educational escape rooms show that the evaluation is usually absent, disputable or indicates no gain (Fotaris & Mastoras, 2019;Veldkamp, van de Grint, et al., 2020). The discrepancy between perceived and actual learning of content knowledge is in line with other findings in pioneer studies on educational games (Garris et al., 2002), practical work (Abrahams & Millar, 2008) and inquiry-based science instruction (Minner et al., 2010). ...
... These and similar studies showed that the interventions appeared not to be effective without active linking of knowledge during the intervention or reflection afterwards. A plenary reflection or debriefing, after the gameplay, is implemented in 40% of all educational escape rooms (Fotaris & Mastoras, 2019) and in half of the physical ones (Veldkamp, van de Grint, et al., 2020). ...
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This study investigates the influence of the educational game design elements immersion, collaboration and debriefing, on fostering learning with educational escape rooms. We based the design of the escape room on an educational game design framework that aligns the learning goal and the game goal, that is, escaping from the room. One‐hundred‐and‐twenty‐six students, aged between 16 and 20 played the escape room. Measures for learning were pre‐and post‐tests. The game experience was measured through questionnaires, classroom observations and interviews with students and teachers. The results show a knowledge gain between pre‐and post‐test. Correlational analysis showed that all three design elements contributed to students' appreciation of the escape room, whereas only immersion had a direct contribution to knowledge gain. Based on the qualitative data it appeared that the used escape boxes contributed most to perceived immersion. Immersion helps students focus on each other and the tasks. Also, a narrative with distinct roles for each student helped to evoke immersion. Unexpectedly, these roles also scaffolded collaboration except for students in the school that engaged in a collaborative learning pedagogy. The study confirms the usability of the framework for game designs, based on theories for the design of physical and hybrid educational games. Practitioner notes What is already known about this topic The escape room as a learning environment appeals to teachers of different disciplines, ages, gender and teaching experiences. Teachers implement escape rooms to create active (hybrid) learning spaces, where learners need a combination of knowledge and skills to solve the subject‐based activities. Students and teachers perceive that while participating in escape rooms, students are more engaged, active and learn more compared to regular classes. The assumption is that escape rooms support collaboration and automatically collaborative learning. Review studies on educational escape rooms show that a systematic evaluation is usually absent, disputable or indicates no knowledge gain. Teachers design their educational escape rooms based on digital escape games and/or their experience as players of escape rooms. For digital educational games, important game design aspects are researched. Three main challenges in designing educational games are (1) the participants' transition from the real world to the game world, (2) the alignment of game design aspects and educational aspects and (3) the transfer from attained experiences and knowledge back into the real world. What this paper adds This paper evaluates an educational game design framework for escape rooms, focussing on the above‐mentioned main challenges in designing educational games. It investigates the influence of the educational game design elements immersion, collaboration and debriefing, on fostering learning with a hybrid educational escape room. It informs that all three design elements contributed to students' appreciation of the escape room, whereas only immersion had a direct contribution to knowledge gain. The used hybrid escape boxes contributed most to the immersion; scaffolding students to focus on each other and the tasks. Students' collaboration was successfully fostered. However, it scarcely led to collaborative learning during gameplay, due to lack of discussion and reflection needed for deeper understanding. Implications for practice and/or policy The educational escape game framework would help educators creating immersive games, which not only confront learners with meaningful contexts but also give learning gains. The educational escape game framework would help researchers focussing on important and difficult aspects of designing and implementing educational escape rooms to develop and research more effective escape rooms. In guidelines on creating immersion in educational escape games, the notion of physical objects is lacking. In this hybrid escape room, the physical objects such as escape boxes were the most powerful in creating immersion. In addition, the use of sound design in escape games in classrooms seems overrated. Debriefing after the gameplay is perceived necessary to discuss common misunderstandings, to make connections between the topics in various puzzles and to add more content to interest high‐achieving students. What is already known about this topic The escape room as a learning environment appeals to teachers of different disciplines, ages, gender and teaching experiences. Teachers implement escape rooms to create active (hybrid) learning spaces, where learners need a combination of knowledge and skills to solve the subject‐based activities. Students and teachers perceive that while participating in escape rooms, students are more engaged, active and learn more compared to regular classes. The assumption is that escape rooms support collaboration and automatically collaborative learning. Review studies on educational escape rooms show that a systematic evaluation is usually absent, disputable or indicates no knowledge gain. Teachers design their educational escape rooms based on digital escape games and/or their experience as players of escape rooms. For digital educational games, important game design aspects are researched. Three main challenges in designing educational games are (1) the participants' transition from the real world to the game world, (2) the alignment of game design aspects and educational aspects and (3) the transfer from attained experiences and knowledge back into the real world. What this paper adds This paper evaluates an educational game design framework for escape rooms, focussing on the above‐mentioned main challenges in designing educational games. It investigates the influence of the educational game design elements immersion, collaboration and debriefing, on fostering learning with a hybrid educational escape room. It informs that all three design elements contributed to students' appreciation of the escape room, whereas only immersion had a direct contribution to knowledge gain. The used hybrid escape boxes contributed most to the immersion; scaffolding students to focus on each other and the tasks. Students' collaboration was successfully fostered. However, it scarcely led to collaborative learning during gameplay, due to lack of discussion and reflection needed for deeper understanding. Implications for practice and/or policy The educational escape game framework would help educators creating immersive games, which not only confront learners with meaningful contexts but also give learning gains. The educational escape game framework would help researchers focussing on important and difficult aspects of designing and implementing educational escape rooms to develop and research more effective escape rooms. In guidelines on creating immersion in educational escape games, the notion of physical objects is lacking. In this hybrid escape room, the physical objects such as escape boxes were the most powerful in creating immersion. In addition, the use of sound design in escape games in classrooms seems overrated. Debriefing after the gameplay is perceived necessary to discuss common misunderstandings, to make connections between the topics in various puzzles and to add more content to interest high‐achieving students.
... Dentro del ABJ se encuentran los conocidos escape room y breakout (Fotaris & Mastoras, 2019). En ellos el alumnado tiene un tiempo limitado para cumplir un objetivo determinado (generalmente lograr salir de una habitación o conseguir abrir una caja -en el caso de los breakouts-), convirtiéndose en experiencias más inmersivas, más intensas y con una gran tensión al tener que resolver los diferentes enigmas y acertijos antes de que finalice el tiempo. ...
... No obstante sí que existen buenas prácticas desarrolladas en el grado de Educación Infantil y Primaria (García-Tudela et al., 2020;Moreno-Fuentes, 2019), Educación Social (Sierra-Daza & Fernández-Sánchez, 2019), Enfermería (Adams et al., 2018;Gallegos et al., 2017;Gómez-Urquiza et al., 2019), Farmacia (Eukel et al., 2020;Nybo et al., 2020), Ingeniería (De la Flor et al., 2020;Gordillo et al., 2020) o Arquitectura (Onecha et al., 2019), con resultados positivos a la hora de potenciar el trabajo cooperativo o favorecer, por ejemplo, el desarrollo de competencias clave y de contenidos propios de la asignatura. Es más, una reciente publicación, realizada por Moore & Campbell (2021), evidencia su idoneidad para mejorar el aprendizaje a través de una práctica multidisciplinar, el trabajo en equipo y la toma de decisiones colaborativas; además de otras habilidades como la creatividad, la capacidad de liderazgo y el pensamiento crítico (Fotaris & Mastoras, 2019;Watermeier & Salzameda, 2019). ...
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Ante la falta de motivación del alumnado universitario, se hacen necesarias metodologías activas que les brinden un rol protagonista dentro del proceso de enseñanza-aprendizaje. Dentro de ellas encontramos el aprendizaje basado en juegos, destacando el enorme auge en los últimos años de los escape rooms en los procesos formativos. En este artículo se pretende analizar lo que este tipo de planteamientos puede generar en el contexto universitario, a través de las percepciones y valoraciones del alumnado del máster de profesorado, tras participar en un escape room digital basado en la película Matrix. La metodología utilizada fue mixta, utilizando la escala GAMEX para obtener datos cuantitativos sobre cada una de las dimensiones que esta mide, relacionadas con la participación en experiencias gamificadas. Esta información se complementó con un cuestionario con una única pregunta abierta para que pudieran compartir sus opiniones y experiencias, haciendo un procesamiento cualitativo de dicha información. Los resultados muestran valores muy positivos en el disfrute/diversión, el grado de absorción, el pensamiento creativo y dominio y la activación del alumnado. Además, el planteamiento potenció la gestión emocional, fundamental en los futuros docentes, pues también aparecen sentimientos como la frustración o la molestia. El hecho de vivir estas experiencias en primera persona permite a los estudiantes conocer su potencial y dificultades de cara a poder aplicarlas en un futuro en las aulas. Abstract. When facing the lack of motivation of university students, it is necessary to use active methodologies which will provide the students with an active role. Among them, we find game-based learning, we highlight the huge peak in the last few years of escape rooms among the formative processes. In this article, we analyse what can be generated in the university context with this type of approach, through the perceptions and reviews of the student body from the MA in Teaching after they take part in a digital escape room based on the movie Matrix. The employed methodology is a mixed one, using the GAMEX scale to obtain quantitative data about every single one of the dimensions measured by the scale that are relates to the participation in gamified experiences. This information was complemented with an open-question based questionnaire so the students could share their opinions and experiences, making use of qualitative way of processing this information. The results show very positive values in the enjoyment/fun, grade of absorption, creative thinking and dominion and the student body’s activation. Furthermore, this approach boosted emotional management, something fundamental in future teachers since they also feel frustration or annoyance. The fact they lived this experience directly allows the students to know their potential and their difficulties so they can apply them in the future.
... In the last four decades, games have been designed purposely for behavioural change [1,2]. This is due to their popularity in providing leisure activity and entertainment to players [3]. ...
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Over the years, there has been a significant increase in the adoption of game-based interventions for behaviour change associated with many fields such as health, education, and psychology. This is due to the significance of the players’ intrinsic motivation that is naturally generated to play games and the substantial impact they can have on players. Many review papers measure the effectiveness of the use of gaming on changing behaviours; however, these studies neglect the game features involved in the game design process, which have an impact of stimulating behaviour change. Therefore, this paper aimed to identify game design mechanics and features that are reported to commonly influence behaviour change during and/or after the interventions. This paper identified key theories of behaviour change that inform the game design process, providing insights that can be adopted by game designers for informing considerations on the use of game features for moderating behaviour in their own games.
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El presente trabajo tuvo como objetivo identificar las principales condiciones, prácticas pedagógicas y estrategias didácticas movilizadas por los docentes para el desarrollo de los procesos de enseñanza aprendizaje en contextos de educación a distancia, educación no presencial o educación desde casa. El contexto de la pandemia del COVID-19 enfrentó a la sociedad mundial a una situación de crisis generalizada, que ha trastocado todos los ámbitos de los quehaceres de la existencia humana, el estado de bienestar y la convivencia, acentuando los niveles de incertidumbre y estabilidad de la sociedad. En lo que respecta al ámbito educativo, habernos enfrentado a la necesidad e imposición de cerrar las escuelas, trajo consigo, aparejada, la interrupción de los procesos educativos tradicionales, situación que indujo a todos los docentes y la comunidad académica en general, a salir de su zona de confort y adaptarse de una manera inmediata a un modelo educativo que no se había visualizado.
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Introduction: Educational institution, medical education, current generation Z student with diversity demands innovative teaching strategies. Concept of simulation & game became bit older. Concept of gaming simulation & escape room in medical education & in undergraduate nursing program becoming popular since last two decades. A form entertaining learning in classroom settings through collaborative live action game creating medical/nursing scenario which engage team participants in critical thinking & domain specific learning to solve puzzles & search for clues to escape locked rooms. This changing shift of teaching learning strategy is suitable for current pandemic situation. Keywords: Escape room, gaming simulation, generation z student, nursing classroom
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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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Open access (OA) has had, and will continue to have, a significant effect on the scholarly publishing landscape in academia, yet many academic staff publish OA in order to comply with policies, rather than engaging with the value of open scholarship and in debates that ultimately affect them. Training sessions and workshops are often arranged to increase knowledge and awareness in the academic community, but engagement is often low. On the other hand, some academic staff, who already do engage, will happily attend sessions and workshops to increase their knowledge even further. The struggle to increase OA engagement overall could be due to the training not being appealing enough, and academics not being aware of benefits until after they have attended workshops. At the University of Essex, we took a bold, brave and curious approach to increasing engagement during Open Access Week 2018, and created an OA-themed escape room. This resulted in great engagement from students, academic staff and professional services staff, some of whom reported that they never knew how relevant OA was for them. The Open Access Escape Room was a success, and provided a positive environment for conversations around OA.
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Medical errors are the eighth leading cause of mortality in the United States and contribute to over one million preventable injuries. In an effort to prevent medical errors, reporting systems serve as invaluable tools to detect patient safety events and quality problems longitudinally. Historically, trainees (i.e., students and residents) rarely submit incident reports for encountered patient safety threats. The authors propose an immersive learning experience utilizing gamification theory and leveraging the increasingly popular 'escape room' to help resident trainees identify reportable patient safety priorities. All 130 incoming intern physicians at the Thomas Jefferson University (Jefferson) were enrolled in the Patient Safety Escape Room study as part of their residency orientation (June 2018). The residents were randomly divided into 16 teams. Each team was immersed in a simulated escape room, tasked with identifying a predetermined set of serious patient safety hazards, and successfully manually entering them into the Jefferson Event Reporting System within the time allotted to successfully 'win the game' by 'escaping the room'. Quick response (QR) codes were planted throughout the activity to provide in-game instructions; clues to solve the puzzle; and key information about patient safety priorities at Jefferson. All participants underwent a formal debriefing using the feedback capture grid method and completed a voluntary post-study survey, adapted from Brookfield's Critical Incident Questionnaire (CIQ). The study was IRB exempt. Thematic analysis of the post-activity CIQ survey (n = 102) revealed that interns were engaged during the immersive learning experience (n = 42) and were specifically engaged by having to independently identify patient safety threats (n = 30). Participants identified team role assignment (n = 52) and effective communication (n = 26) as the two most helpful actions needed to successfully complete the activity. Participants were overall surprised by the success of the education innovation (n = 45) and reported that it changed how they viewed patient safety threats. Areas for improvement include clearer game instructions and using a more streamlined event reporting process. The escape room patient-safety activity allowed interns to actively engage in an innovative orientation activity that highlighted the importance of patient safety hazards, as well as providing them with the opportunity to document event reports in real-time. Next steps will include longitudinally tracking the quantity of error reports entered by this cohort to determine the effectiveness of this educational intervention.
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Escape rooms have become very popular with the public in the past few years. Outside of the for-profit sector many grade schools and public libraries have used them to teach and entertain. This article shows how an academic library was able to successfully use the popularity of escape rooms and their teaching advantages to create an escape experience for students. By creating an experience that remained true to the original purpose of escape rooms, but which spanned the whole campus rather than one room, players learned about the library and other campus services by solving a series of ciphers and riddles.
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Escape rooms are an increasingly popular puzzle game, and educators have started implementing them in classrooms. This paper will describe the motivations and implementation of escape-room-like puzzles in an undergraduate cryptography course, including how the open-source mathematics software system SageMath is used. In addition, there is a discussion about generalizations of the activity to other courses.
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There is growing evidence that incorporating games into education supports active learning and student participation. With that in mind, we created a staff development session that involved a playful learning activity, in which attendees experienced 90’s nostalgia, whilst working on an important learning and teaching issue.Based on the British game show, The Crystal Maze, The ‘Crys-TEL’ maze required attendees to complete a number of challenges as a group to attempt to ‘solve’ a pressing learning and teaching issue. Using gamification techniques, defined as game design elements in non-game settings, attendees experienced different delivery styles, whilst always working towards the learning and teaching issue they had been asked to consider. In a nod to the original Crystal Maze game show, attendees worked in groups to score points for completing various tasks. The two groups with the most points competed against each other in the final to collect crystals, and ultimately conquer the ‘maze’.This article will describe the journey we took from the initial concept through to the delivery of the session, and our reflections and proposed future developments of the Crys-TEL Maze.
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Imagine being locked in a chemical lab with 4 "bombs" that will detonate within 60 min unless you neutralize them. You now must use your brain, chemical knowledge, intuition, and need a bit of luck to neutralize the bombs and escape unharmed... This is the concept behind "chemical escape", an activity for high-school students, which brings the extremely popular genre of "escape rooms" into the chemistry classroom; it engages students in learning, increases motivation, and bridges the gap between classroom chemistry and the real world, as well as allows for teamwork and peer learning. A mobile escape room was designed and built in Israel; it consisted of lab-based activities and was suitable for high schools. To date, the activity has been introduced to more than 350 chemistry teachers who then implemented it to over 1500 students. An evaluation questionnaire was developed on the basis of students' statements of their experience of the escape room (bottom-up); the results indicate that the students were highly engaged and motivated during the activity, and there was an appreciation for teachers' efforts to run the escape room, an increased feeling of efficacy, and effective teamwork. In this paper we provide a detailed description of all the puzzles and an explanation of how to operate it in a school lab. © Copyright 2019 American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc.
Article
Escape ClassRoom "CSI 1.0" is an educational escape room proposed as an interactive analytical chemistry exercise for the evaluation of undergraduate students at the end of the subject. This approach is a new form of live action learning activity in which the students have to solve an analytical problem, namely, "an alleged crime". From this initial hypothesis, they have to investigate the crime by playing the role of trainee forensic chemists. As in any escape room, Escape ClassRoom "CSI 1.0" is a logical game in which the main objective is to discover several clues, to find hidden objects, and to solve a mystery in order to escape a "locked" room in an established time. The students play the role of forensic scientists and solve the alleged crime by following the scientific method in order to escape. To do so, they have to apply the whole analytical process from beginning to end, i.e., from a correct sampling at the crime scene, through the analysis of sample and data treatment until the interpretation of the results to validate the initial hypothesis: a murder has been committed. If it has, then who did it? The students' knowledge in analytical chemistry and the teamwork are the only tools that they have to solve all of the riddles and uncover hidden messages to "win" while time is running out. This first experience showed the potential of an escape room to be used as an innovative educational tool easily applicable to other subjects. © 2019 American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc.
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In the past years, educational escape games have raised interest in researchers and educators as a new game-based learning approach to break out from the traditional classroom routine. Recent work has demonstrated that educational escape games elicit high motivation and engagement on the part of the participants. Moreover, it has been shown that many participants experienced flow, a state of mind, which has been considered as beneficial for successful learning. However, due to its novelty, studies on the educational significance of such activities still appear to be sparse. In this work, we investigated whether escape games can be used as a teaching tool in the context of educational robotics, since both can be situated in the pedagogical currents of social-constructivism. To this end, we developed a prototype of an escape game using the educational robot Thymio and the visual programming language VPL and tested it with 61 subjects. Both quantitative and qualitative results showed that most participants highly appreciated the activity and agreed on the game’s usability for teaching. Moreover, a great majority agreed on having experienced flow while playing. We, therefore, suggest that escape games provide a favorable framework for educational robotic activities, promoting particularly self-regulated and collaborative learning.
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Communication skills among healthcare professionals are a necessary component in ensuring quality outcomes for patients. This report describes the design and curricular implementation of an interprofessional escape room, an innovative way to promote communication and positive team dynamics among students. In this interactive, serious game, teams of approximately eight interprofessional participants were provided with a fictitious patient case in a simulated hospital environment. Within a 45-minute time limit, students needed to use objects in the room to solve a series of puzzles to successfully complete the room by addressing all the patient’s needs. A facilitated debrief following the activity allowed participants to reflect on their communication skills and teamwork during the experience. A total of thirty students across seven professions piloted the activity, and 181 students across five professions participated in the activity as part of an academic course. Feedback from students was collected on a seven-point Likert scale and revealed the value of an interprofessional escape room in academia. This report, which describes what appears to be the first interprofessional health care escape room within an IPE curriculum, demonstrates the value of the escape room in encouraging teamwork, facilitating communication, and promoting interprofessionalism.