Escape room is an adventurous setting, which challenges to cooperate, make links, communicate clearly, find solutions, discover and be curious. The Eduesc@peroom is a discovery-based educational tool, using the escape room as a creative learning space.
To create an innovative and playful educative tool for professionals in formal and non-formal education to explore self-directed learning and make changes in their educational systemic approach following new educational developments.
In the last years we see the ‘gamification’ as very successful development of education. This tool would rather be the ‘educification’ of a successful game.
This tool was created in the L@L project, where we work on Creative Learning Environments, where we look deeper into the conditions for good creative learning environments, which means:
- Physical space
- Mind set of educator/
- Giving responsibility to learners- SDL
- Allowing learners to fail forward
- Adapting to learner’s needs
The escape room is a space where excitement and adrenaline is present and used to fulfil tasks as a group. We used the concept of escape room to create a discovery based learning environment. People are challenged to find the answer in own and creative ways, using the diversity of the group and different learning styles and approaches.
Our main question was: What makes an educative escape room educative? What makes it different from existing escape rooms, that are set up mainly for entertainment. This question keeps coming back during the development of this tool.
To set up and design the eduesc@peroom for the first time, an extensive preparation is needed. It is important that the designer(s) know the concept of an escape room and have participated in a regular escape room before.
The design has to be done taking into account:
- topic according to learning needs
- tasks for different talents and learning styles (mathematical, logical, verbal challenges and puzzles)
- target group (number, age, social and educational level)
- available materials and location (class room, outdoor, office room, etc.)
- atmosphere you want to create
- creating the story/ narrative
- ‘game flow’
- communication tools-monitoring the process
- type of debriefing
- how to rearrange the room, if multiple groups are playing (timeframe)
Once the design is done, this could be repeated, easily adapted to other locations.
In the L@L project we developed a document how to set up an educative escape room. This document is annexed to this tool description.
Preparation (4-8 hours):
Before the activity, the eduesc@peroom has to be built according to the design. Take into account a few hours It is useful to build the eduesc@peroom the day(s) before the actual activity is taking place.
If possible, testing can be very useful.
Prepare the group:
Before the group enters the room, you tell the story of the room. This should take some time
and explain the task and the rules:
- time limit (and communication of how much time is left)
- what can be touched and what not
- communication and monitoring
- what if someone wants/ needs to leave the room (emergency rules)
The activity (15-60 min.):
The group enters the room and has to find its way out, being able to open the door out, within the time set. To be able to do that the group enters the room to solve all puzzles and face all challenges. You monitor the group via skype or (web)cam connection and using the walkie talkie. If needed you interact and support the group, by asking questions (not solving things yourself, but helping them to solve it themselves) so they can find the key, the code, the object or the answer.
The activity ends when the time ends or when the groups has successfully left the room.
Welcome the group. If needed groups can make a closing act (write postcard about experience, draw something….
Tell them that they have done a good job (even if they did not get out in time. Make a picture with a poster saying:
Successfully escaped the room! If they managed toe scape
Achievement xx%: Almost escaped the room if they did not manage to escape.
Put the picture on FB or other Social Media.
- Blowing of steam
- ‘Walk’ through the escape room
- cooperation and communication
- learning outcomes (what did they learn about topic)
- learning style (what they learn about themselves and their learning style?)
- feedback on the experience
- Room with door that can be closed
- Money boxes or other lockable boxes
- Empty suitcase
- Map of Europe
- 2 laptops with internet (1: skype to monitor the process inside room & 2: video messages)
- papers & pens
- Lights (black light, flash light and/or other lights)
- Erasmus+ materials (booklets like Youthpass unfolded, Programme guide, Cherry on the cake, other booklets’ articles/ pictures with good practices and evidence of learning within E+, especially on Inclusion.
- Rope, scissors, pins, tape, paper tape, flip over or white board, (white board) markers to prepare the room
- Prints of educational escape room set up (for each participant + critical friend
For facilitator to bring:
- Puzzles, riddles, (to be prepared by the facilitator)
- Various kind of locks (key/ number)
- Laptop for communication and monitoring the process outside room)
- Videos of young people explaining their youth mobility
Target group- professionals:
- Participants understand the concept and potential of the educative escape room.
- Participants discuss and think about the topic of (self-directed) learning and the creative learning environment as a concept.
- Participants discuss how they use/ implement the eduesc@peroom in their educative realities
Target group- young people:
- Participants are challenged to cooperate and communicate in an effective way. Participants get new insights in their strength and weaknesses in cooperating and communicating.
- Participants know more about and get new insights in elements of the topic.
- Participants experience the opportunities of SDL
- Participants use their curiosity and creativity to explore the environment and solve problems/ challenging situations
- Participants are challenged to use their logical thinking and out-of-the-box thinking
The tool has been run and evaluated several times, and it has been the main topic of our TC , within the Looking at Learning project. But the tool is still being developed and tested and we would appreciate this tool to be evaluated during Toolfair with colleagues.
Until now we have discovered:
- That the Eduesc@peroom has huge potential to develop and be adapted according to all target groups or even combination of target groups.
- That the Eduesc@peroom can be used in class rooms, in youth centers and even in centers for people with disabilities.
- That the Eduesc@peroom is tiem demanding. Only small groups can enter, so if you want to reach larger groups, it takes a lot of time.
- That the Eduesc@peroom has impressive learning outcomes and fits the living world of young people. After all the testing participants were very involved in talking about the challenges and the learning, so we saw deep learning.
- That the Eduesc@peroom is an investment; it takes time to design, prepare, run and close. People who like games, adventures and escape rooms are more likely to implement an Eduesc@peroom.
- That all who have prepared the Eduesc@peroom have incredible enjoyed all parts of the process and have learned a lot about the topic of learning (professional development).
Toolfair workshop implementation:
The workshop would be implemented by 2 Toolfair participants: Nacho Salgado and Gabi Steinprinz
We would like to test this tool in a workshop of 120 minutes. We would need a small/ medium size room that can be locked. It can be a room without windows and preferably with little sounds coming from outside. We would appreciate to have a second (small) room next to it where no other people are, to monitor and communicate with people inside room. We cannot be disturbed by others in that process.
For the Toolfair: 2 groups of 4-8 persons (if the room could stay set up, in informal time we could run the Eduesc@peroom with more than 2 groups.We would like you to consider to keep the room installed, so in informal times groups could further explore the tool.
Material: see list above
The tool is still in development so we would like participants and critical friend to give feedback and brainstorm with us about possible adaptation of the tool, with a special focus on:
- What makes an Edusc@peroom educative (apart from the element of cooperation and communication, that are parts of regular escape rooms)? What is the difference between escape room and Edusc@peroom?
- Which topics could be interesting in formal and/or in non-formal settings?
- What can we do, to make the Edusc@peroom more inclusive? How we can we create tasks so everybody could take an active part in the activity?
- How can we use the Edusc@peroom specially for young people with fewer opportunities, like learning difficulties or social/ behavioral challenges, which means without words/ language, or limiting physical tasks?
- How could we develop the Edusc@peroom further?
This tool needs rather large preparation (design and prepare materials/ tasks) and time to set up and break down (so the room cannot be used immediately after the activity.
The tool is quite complex. We advise to prepare the Edusc@peroom with a team, rather than only one person.
DISCLAIMER: SALTO-YOUTH EuroMed cannot be held responsible for the inappropriate use of these training tools. Always adapt training tools to your aims, context, target group and to your own skills! These tools have been used in a variety of formats and situations. Please notify SALTO-YOUTH EuroMed should you know about the origin of or copyright on this tool.