Virtual reality and educational escape rooms

Innovation Funds SBE

Escape rooms took the entertainment industry by storm, and now there are more than 1000 escape rooms in the Netherlands. These games are also used in education.

They are used mainly in educational fields where skills developments are central such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and healthcare (cf. Rosenkrantz et al., 2019; Williams, 2018). They are also marginally implemented in general business education, specifically entrepreneurship education, for, among others, teaching value creation (Maaravi et al., 2020), social entrepreneurship (Brinia et al., 2020), and soft skills such as cooperation (Martina & Göksen, 2020).

What are educational escape rooms?

They are “live-action team-based games where players discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to accomplish a specific goal (usually escaping from the room) in a limited time” (Nicholson, 2015, p.1). They fall under the serious games category, simulations that “aligns learning, play, and participation while exposing students to real challenges in a virtual world” (Neck & Greene, 2011, 64).

With the advance of technology, EERs have also progressed. Due to the corona pandemic, EERs were translated to digital versions offered online. However, with students studying remotely, the natural engagement and experience when working in groups have been lost.

This project

For this project, we study how virtual reality (VR) technology can be used to connect on-campus students with off-campus students in a hybrid campus that facilitates learning in teams despite physical location. We build a VR-EER in the VR platform Mozilla Hubs, a variant of a digital EER where students end up in an EER by wearing VR glasses. Like in a physical EER, students can work together on puzzles and other assignments via game control devices (game controllers). Students who do not have VR headsets at their disposal can also connect to the VR-EER via other mobile devices, which means that real interaction can occur regardless of physical location or specialist equipment and can therefore form part of a blended education. We test the access to and engagement of the VR-EER via the headsets of Oculus Quest 2.

The project runs until the end of 2022.

Also involved

  • Kwan Suppaiboonsuk
  • Nicoleta Pana

For more information, please contact

Richard A. Martina

11 May 2022