LD@3 – The opportunities and challenges of educational escape rooms

Monday 18th July @ 3pm – 4pm

Video conferencing platforms like Zoom, the video affordances of MS Teams and google handouts offer a way to connect with our students, however, their limits are the synchronous nature of the technology, the minimal shared experience and the lack of sense of place. The paradigm of adopting games and play as systems for representing and simulating real-life conditions, imparting knowledge and moral teachings, and generally nurturing social evolution, is an approach which has only recently started to be called ‘Game Based Learning (Clarke et al 2017).

A recent systematic literature review by Fotaris and Mastoras (2019) identifies the concerns about the time it takes to design and construct escape rooms. However, their analysis indicates that educational escape rooms offer an enjoyable experience that immerses students as active participants in their learning environment. Escape rooms offer learners the opportunity that promotes teamwork, creativity, decision-making, leadership, communication, and critical thinking. The JISC ‘Student digital experience insights survey’ (2020) summarised the experiences of over 20,000 HE students at a range of 28 HE institutions. One surprising finding was that only 20% of students gain any ‘real life’ simulation experiences as part of their degree, and these tend to be in engineering design and healthcare.

Creativity, games, and role plays are well known to learning developers as established educational and research methods, and communities of practice, such as @CreativeHE share and celebrate this body of work.

This presentation will offer participants:

  • The theoretical framing for introducing digital creative practices to their own contexts
  • A taster ‘Escape’ room session
  • Access to our templates and ‘step through’ resources 


  • JISC Student digital experience insights survey (2020) https://www.jisc.ac.uk/sites/default/files/student-dei-he-report-2020.pdf
  • Clarke, S., Peel, D.J., Arnab, S., Morini, L., Keegan, H. and Wood, O., 2017. escapED: a framework for creating educational escape rooms and Interactive Games For Higher/Further Education. International Journal of Serious Games, 4(3), pp.73-86.
  • Fotaris, P. and Mastoras, T., 2019, October. Escape rooms for learning: A systematic review. In Proceedings of the European Conference on Games Based Learning (pp. 235-243).
  • Veldkamp, A., van de Grint, L., Knippels, M.C. and van Joolingen, W., 2020. Escape education: A systematic review on escape rooms in education. https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202003.0182/v1
  • Wiederhold, B.K., 2020. Connecting through technology during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: Avoiding “Zoom Fatigue”.


Debbie Holley (Bournemouth University), Carina Buckley (Solent University) and Kate Coulson (University of Northampton)

Register for the event

Young girl in center of a room looking up through a hole, isolated in a room with mathematical formulas written on wall
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