Digital Escape Rooms as Innovative Pedagogical Tools in Education: A Systematic Literature Review
2. Theoretical Background
2.1. Conceptualizing the Concepts of Educational Escape Rooms and Digital Escape Rooms
- Learning objectives: These objectives aim to process the topic and evaluate the student’s learning experience and achievements, as well as find out, accordingly, which indicators of change must be improved.
- Single or multidisciplinary theme: Single domain or multiple disciplines presented as part of the game experience.
- Soft Skills: Interactive action games that can help develop soft skills such as communication and teamwork.
- Troubleshooting: Developing troubleshooting challenges to make the game experience interesting for players (p. 25, ).
2.2. Categorization of Puzzles
- A puzzle consists of many elements and at least one of these elements from each puzzle must lead to the actual participation of the player.
- The resources used to solve the puzzles can come from the world in which the game takes place.
- The strategies required to solve the puzzles could add something to the narrative of the game.
- The solution may be part of the mission for which the players work.
- The existence of the puzzle in the game must make sense concerning the type of game, the setting, and the narration.
2.3. DEER Games’ Learning Outcomes
3. Research Questions
- RQ1: What methods and assessment tools have been used to investigate the application of DER games in educational environments?
- RQ2: What are the common educational traits in the use of DERs in education?
- RQ3: What are the common design and development traits in the use of DERs in education?
- RQ4: To what extent are the learning objectives of DER games harmonized with the learning outcomes?
4. Research Method
5.1. Dataset Characteristics
5.2. Methods and Assessment Tools
5.3. Common Educational Traits in the Use of Digital Eers
5.3.1. Target Groups/Educational Level/Discipline Areas
5.3.2. Learning Goals
5.3.3. Educator’s Role
- Exchange of ideas and reflections on the experiences of the game, since designers are interested in receiving feedback on the procedure and the activity itself.
- Evaluation from participants on the learning objectives and the extent to which they have achieved.
- Discuss and focus on content course knowledge, learning outcomes of each puzzle concerning the learning goals—a vital element, and skills to be developed.
- Reflect on the impact of the game on teamwork and communication improvement.
- Ask questions from participants’ points of view and verify their reasoning.
- Discuss new topics that emerged during game activity and extend content knowledge.
- Provide feedback on participants’ performances and how they perceived the whole gaming process and experience.
5.4. Common Design and Development Traits in the Use of Digital EERs
5.4.1. Team Size
5.4.3. Type of Games, Puzzles and Their Structure
5.4.4. Application of Digital Technologies
5.5. Evidence of Impact and Outcomes for DEERs
5.5.1. Development of Cognitive Skills
5.5.2. Development of Behavioral Skills
5.5.3. Development of Affective Skills
6. Discussion of the Results
6.1. Key Findings and Implications
- Adopting a game-designed framework and well-defined design criteria and key pillars. This might lead to a game that more adequately meets the learning goals, adapts to educational learners’ needs, and focuses on key competencies for the target audience.
- Creating hybrid learning experiences. The combination of digital with analog elements can foster the learners’ transfer from the conventional classroom context to the digital game context, thus, stimulating collaboration and team-building skills among learners.
- Using sustainable materials (materials that can be produced in required volumes without depleting non-renewable resources), with the aim to create digital sustainable EERs. In education, since budgets and time are usually restricted, designers are forced to favor reusable and multipurpose educational materials [21,35].
6.2. Limitations and Future Research Agenda
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Escape Rooms||Escape games, gaming rooms, breakout rooms, breakout games, breakout boxes, serious escape games, real escape games, educational escape rooms, educational escape games, exit games, puzzle rooms, adventure rooms|
|Digital ERs||Virtual ERs, online ERs|
|Educational Level||Primary education, secondary education, K-12 education, high school, middle school, intermediate school, higher education, further education, graduate school education, university education, tertiary-level education, vocational education|
|Types of Educational Settings||Number of Studies|
|Higher education (pre-graduate, undergraduate,|
graduate, and post-graduate)
|Subject Area||Number of Studies|
|STEM subjects *||13|
|Health care subjects **||8|
|Natural sciences ***||8|
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Makri, A.; Vlachopoulos, D.; Martina, R.A. Digital Escape Rooms as Innovative Pedagogical Tools in Education: A Systematic Literature Review. Sustainability 2021, 13, 4587. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084587
Makri A, Vlachopoulos D, Martina RA. Digital Escape Rooms as Innovative Pedagogical Tools in Education: A Systematic Literature Review. Sustainability. 2021; 13(8):4587. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084587Chicago/Turabian Style
Makri, Agoritsa, Dimitrios Vlachopoulos, and Richard A. Martina. 2021. "Digital Escape Rooms as Innovative Pedagogical Tools in Education: A Systematic Literature Review" Sustainability 13, no. 8: 4587. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084587