Escape Rooms for Learning: A Systematic Review

Panagiotis Fotaris, Theodoros Mastoras

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


    Following the recent shift from traditional didactic classroom models to the adoption of active learning approaches, escape rooms and breakout games are increasingly being used in academia as a method for experiential, peer-group, game-based learning. Although they have the potential to enable new forms of teaching and transform the learning experience, escape rooms are a relatively new concept and there is not a substantial amount of work exploring their tendencies, affordances, and challenges on education. This paper addresses the lack of empirical evidence on the impact of escape rooms on educational settings by presenting a systematic review of 68 peer-reviewed studies published in scientific journals and conference proceedings between 2009 and April 2019. To analyse and critically appraise the current state of knowledge and practice in educational escape rooms, it considers aspects such as fields of education, target audience, game type and location, time limit, team size, and study results. The systematic review also highlights the advantages and challenges of these new learning activities, as well as their positive impact on student motivation and soft skills development. The analysis indicates that educational escape rooms can provide an enjoyable experience that immerses students as active participants in the learning environment. Additionally, they give learners the opportunity to engage in an activity that rewards teamwork, creativity, decision-making, leadership, communication, and critical thinking. Although instructional design for educational escape rooms is complex and time consuming, once the game has been developed it can be further applied in successive years. The results of this work aim to lay the groundwork for educators and other stakeholders by offering new insights with effective advice and recommendations for the successful incorporation of escape rooms into their teaching strategies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th International Conference on Game Based Learning, ECGBL 2019
    EditorsLars Elbaek, Gunver Majgaard, Andrea Valente, Saifuddin Khalid
    Place of PublicationReading, UK
    PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Electronic)9781912764389
    ISBN (Print)9781912764372, 9781912764389
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2019
    Event13th European Conference on Games Based Learning - Odense, Denmark
    Duration: 3 Oct 20194 Oct 2019

    Publication series

    NameProceedings of the European Conference on Games-based Learning
    ISSN (Print)2049-0992


    Conference13th European Conference on Games Based Learning
    Abbreviated titleECGBL 2019
    Internet address


    • escape room
    • game-based learning
    • breakout game
    • systematic review
    • Gamification
    • Game-based learning
    • Systematic review
    • Escape room
    • Breakout game


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