(Outside of the case)
Last month I wrote about the exciting prospect of using Escape Room design in HE learning. After doing a lot of research, I got so excited I decided to create a demo escape room that is available for any academic to experience escape room design first-hand.
I really liked BreakOutEdu‘s idea of creating an escape case that would allow learners to do the activity at anytime in any place and it was also a lot easier to take the activity to other faculties and conferences.
Rather than focusing on a single subject to base the escape case on, I decided to go for something a little more general – basic research methods for undergraduate first year students. This included finding information via a bibliographical reference, finalising a research question as well as collaboration and communication skills between learners.
Creating an escape room activity for HE learners meant that I could go a bit more “mature” with the context of the escape case. For the demo case I decided to use The Island of Dr Moreau as inspiration for the story surrounding the activity. The main idea of the story is that the learners have discovered one of the last remaining experiments of Dr Moreau, the experiment is designed to release a “transforming gas” that will turn the participants into hybrid animals if they are unable to solve the 4-digit combination puzzle in under 30 minutes.
(Inside the case)
As you can see from the image above I really wanted to go to town on the overall design and feel for the case, finding a lot of old junk that let me design interesting and obscure mechanisms for the gas device and other activities in the case.
After letting other learning designers have a go at the escape case, current feedback has been positive and while this demo case is quite an extreme example of what you are able to do with escape room design, I feel that it successfully demonstrates the way a participant should feel and learn using this type of design. Of course, I used many elements of Gamification when design this activity, from collaboration, time-based activities and an engaging story, which makes the activity even more appealing for the learners.
If you want to come and have a go at the box and find out how to implement some of the design strategies used to create this in your own teaching, just give me or the ILIaD team a shout and come play… if you dare. D.J.Peel@soton.ac.uk.