Education and escape rooms: are they compatible?

Has education evolved or have students changed? Whatever it is, nothing is the same anymore. As time goes by, students show different skills and education systems look for more personalization than ever. The advent of ICTs has been a real revolution that very few teachers are able to introduce into education. In this sense, maintaining the attention and interest of the students has become a real challenge. That is why many teachers have reinvented themselves and started using more innovative mechanisms that make the whole class focus on what is being done. One of the techniques that are currently on the rise throughout the world is the use of escape rooms in education. In fact, many education professionals are already doing so with very interesting benefits for both students and teachers.

As explained in previous entries, escape rooms are games of strategy, logic and skill that aim to make the most of users’ capabilities. With the evolution of education in a world as advanced as the current one, these games hide a concept directly related to the world of training and that is fundamentally based on the development of mental skills for solving puzzles and problems, so that children put creativity and critical thinking at stake.

With the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic last March, a new way of enjoying escape games has been discovered: taking them online. This new modality greatly facilitates the possibility of incorporating them into education as a tool to develop the cooperative, cognitive, deductive and logical reasoning skills of students. In this sense, it is not necessary to create an escape game from scratch, but there are many already available that can be integrated into the classroom.

Key contributions to education

From updating the method used by the teacher to teach to getting a part of a subject to be understood without having to resort to the usual systems. Combining escape room with other educational techniques can provide students with many benefits to help them grow as people. First, when facing an enigma of this type, students develop the ability to see the whole, that is, they acquire a thoughtful process of the situation. In other words, they put all their skills into working to try to reach the solution.

Another of the most relevant aspects that these games introduce into the educational system and, specifically, in students is to expand the personal communication skills. Communication is currently in crisis. It is not new that the evolution of technologies, social networks and innovation in general is ruling out personal, direct communication from you to you, transforming it into a message from an electronic device. However, working as a team and expanding all together their problem-solving capabilities makes it easier for communication to be always present.

Motivation is the essential element that every teacher seeks in his class. Without motivation there is no learning, and that is why it is one of the objectives of the whole educational system: how to find the motivation of students. Introducing escape rooms into class is the novelty of the week or even the month, which will increase the curiosity of the students. In addition, it has been shown that using this technique to learn in some areas results in an increase in the motivation of children and adolescents in their learning process.

Thanks to the way the game unfolds, creativity plays a very important role, as well as intelligence, imagination and empathy in solving puzzles.

Benefits for the teaching part

Novelty, dedication and attitude. Adapting the game to the contents and needs of each group requires a considerable investment of time. The teacher will have to perform an intense search for information, design some puzzles and test it with other colleagues to see if it is effective or not.

Many teachers seek to break the routine, with the daily pace of class because it is what leads to the boredom of students. In addition, this methodology is endorsed by pedagogues and psychologists who insist on the many benefits that the game brings to students for educational purposes. In fact, the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) carried out a study in which it is shown that motivation is considerably increased and work among students is encouraged. This analysis carried out by Patricia Sánchez Lamas addresses the need to integrate the playful component in the classroom to facilitate the development of teaching-learning experiences that are well founded, organized and structured.