Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Educational Escape Rooms: Challenges in Aligning Game and Education

Version 1 : Received: 15 October 2020 / Approved: 16 October 2020 / Online: 16 October 2020 (08:36:22 CEST)

How to cite: Veldkamp, A.; Merx, S.; van Winden, J. Educational Escape Rooms: Challenges in Aligning Game and Education. Preprints 2020, 2020100344. Veldkamp, A.; Merx, S.; van Winden, J. Educational Escape Rooms: Challenges in Aligning Game and Education. Preprints 2020, 2020100344.


This article analyzes the design of MasterMind, an escape room that served as a means of professional development in the use and implementation of online educational tools in academic teaching. Escape rooms have inspired educators all over the world to adapt the popular entertainment activity for education. The time-constrained and problem-based games require active and collaborative participants, which makes an escape room an interesting setting for educators. As there are differences in the settings and goals of educational and recreational escape rooms, there is a need for description of the design process, taking into account game design and educational aspects. MasterMind was developed by a multidisciplinary team of educators, educational researchers and game researchers. The design analysis of MasterMind focuses on three related challenges that have informed the design process: 1) the participants' transition from the real world to the game world; 2) the alignment of game design aspects and educational aspects in the game world; and 3) the transfer from experiences and knowledge obtained within the game world back into the real world. The description and analysis is guided by frameworks on persuasive games and the alignment of game goals and learning goals. The analysis gives insights in how to balance game and educational aspects in the design, in order for players to reach both persuasive and learning goals. We recommend an integrated approach of the different design challenges. Therefore, we propose a design model combining and aligning the used frameworks, leading to an integrated approach in tackling design challenges in persuasive, serious games.

Supplementary and Associated Material The special issue of Well-Played examines escapes rooms in both physical and digital forms.


educational escape room; persuasive gaming; professional development; alignment


Business, Economics and Management, Accounting and Taxation

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