DESIGN OF AN ESCAPE ROOM TO SUPPORT LEARNING OF INDUSTRIAL PROCESS CONTROL IN ENGINEERING DEGREES

I. Tejado , E. Pérez , J.E. Traver , C. Nuevo-Gallardo , P. Rodríguez, B.M. Vinagre 

University of Extremadura (SPAIN)
One of the main difficulties that educators encounter into the classroom is to maintain the attention and interest of the students in the subject that they teach. And it is that the students of today are not those of a decade ago. Innovation in educational techniques and methodologies, such as experiential and game-based learning, are gradually gaining ground or in a coordinated way to the traditional ones. This circumstance is especially notable in the case of university teaching, in order to achieve both quality learning and more effective teaching.

The use of escape rooms (ERs) is one of the techniques that are currently on the rise throughout the world is due to their ability to foster teamwork, leadership, creative thinking, and communication in such a way that is engaging for students [1]. As a result, educational ERs can be considered as a new type of learning activities under with which it is possible to improve students’ learning by developing mental skills through highly engaging experiences, enigmas or problems.

More specifically, an educational ER consists of a set of puzzles related to the contents of the course in question to be solved by students, generally in groups and for a certain time. For that purpose, it is clear that students do not only need to use all their intellectual, creative and deductive reasoning abilities in order to succeed, but also understand and master the contents. The game has a story or narrative, which has to do with how the ER is contextualized.
Although ERs are relatively new resources, several case studies can be found on the experience of their use in a wide range of academic degrees, levels and disciplines. For example, the benefits of their use in Computer Engineering degrees on student engagement and learning were reported in [1, 2]; students preferred those activities over traditional laboratory sessions. At secondary school level, different experiences were shown in [3-5] for diverse learning objectives.

This paper describes the design process of an educational ER for teaching industrial process control, a fourth-year optional subject in Electronics and Automation Engineering degree at University of Extremadura. Benefits to be achieved for both students and lecturers are discussed.

References:
[1] S. López-Pernas, A. Gordillo, E. Barra, J. Quemada, “Examining the Use of an Educational Escape Room for Teaching Programming in Higher Education Setting,” IEEE Access, vol. 7, pp. 31723–31737, 2019.
[2] C. Borrego, C. Fernández, I. Blanes, S. Robles, “Room Escape at Class: Escape Games Activities to Facilitate the Motivation and Learning in Computer Science,” Journal of Technology and Science Education,” vol. 7, no. 2, 2017.
[3] A. Fuentes-Cabrera, M. E. Parra-González, J. López-Belmonte, A. Seguro-Robles, “Learning Mathematics with Emerging Methodologies – The Escape Room as a Case Study,” Mathematics, no. 8, 1586, 2020.
[4] Z. Karageorgiou, P. Fotaris, “Escape Room Design as a Game-Based Learning Process for STEAM Education,” Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on Games Based Learning (ECGBL 2019), 2019.
[5] A. Veldkamp, J. Daemen, S. Teekens, S. Koelewijn, M.-C.P.J. Kinipperls, W.R. van Joolingen, “Escape Boxes: Bringing Escape Room Experience into the Classroom,” British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 1220–1239, 2020.