As we discussed in the previous blog, escape rooms can be a highly effective way to engage learners and provide a memorable learning experience. However, they are not appropriate for every learning situation and are not always designed for a meaningful or relevant purpose.
Let’s take a look at a bad example:
For this example, we used the same escape room as previously shown. The context is still that a (fictional) company wants to assess baseline knowledge prior to applying for a position and uses the escape room as a screening tool for potential applicants. Instead of the company being an interior design company, it’s a staffing company for office workers who need to be proficient in Microsoft Word. Like the previous example, this escape room design included:
- Timer: Applicants had a reasonable amount of time to answer all of the questions and escape, but not sufficient time to research each answer.
- Relevance: Questions were relevant to the task employees would be expected to perform (know keyboard shortcuts to increase efficiency when using Word).
What makes this an inappropriate example of using an escape room?
- Disconnect: There is a disconnect between the images in the room and the questions being asked. This increases the cognitive load for learners, since each there is no relationship between the question and the selected image.
- Dead ends: These occur when the user selects an object but doesn’t receive a question. While this may introduce an element of surprise, this can also be frustrating for learners, especially if the amount is substantial. In this example, there are as many dead ends as there are questions to answer. This increases the cognitive load of remembering what images were previously selected and detracts for the content being learned or assessed. This can also lead to frustration or anxiety, depending on how much time the user needs to complete the task, since the dead ends consume part of the allocated time.
What are other examples of bad design to be aware of?
- Confusing questions: If the questions are too difficult or confusing, learners can become frustrated and disengaged.
- Lack of relevance: If the escape room doesn’t relate directly to the learning content, learners may not see the point and become disinterested.
- Poor feedback: If learners don’t receive feedback or reinforcement throughout the escape room experience, they may not understand what they are supposed to be learning.
- Insufficient time: While the time element can make it challenging and fun for learners, it can make it stressful or be distracting for other learners. It’s important to understand the learner population, whether adequate time is provided, or determine whether a timer is even an important element to include.
Escape rooms can be a highly effective way to engage learners and provide a memorable learning experience in eLearning. However, it is important to carefully consider when and how to use them to ensure they are relevant and effective for your learning objectives. Wieser Learning Solutions can provide the instructional design expertise to work with you and your team to help you decide whether an escape room is right for your organization and training needs.