The contribution of game design elements to the educational potential of Escape Rooms in secondary biology education
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In this research we investigated the educational potential of Escape Rooms in secondary biology education and which game design elements contribute to this educational potential, since secondary school teachers are using Escape Rooms in their teaching practice without scientific foundation. Based on literature findings, we found that a well-designed Escape Room covers all of the most important SEG design elements and thus has a great educational potential. We then selected 3 SEG design elements (immersion, collaboration and a debriefing) and enhanced those in our own portable Escape Room (escape box). The escape box was then tested on 6 biology classes on 2 secondary schools in the Netherlands with students’ ages ranging from 16-20 years old in order to determine the learning gains of the students and to what extent the 3 selected SEG design elements contributed to this. The students filled in a pre- and post-knowledge test and a post-activity survey. Next to those we used observation schemes and semi-structured interviews with students. We found high learning gains (an increase of 93% on content knowledge test scores) and found that a debriefing is essential for the learning gains of the students. A high degree of collaboration was also contributing to those learning gains and to a lesser – but still positive – extent, immersion. Our findings confirmed that Escape Rooms have great educational potential, but educators who want to design an Escape Room should pay particular attention to the debriefing and collaboration elements.