The TEL Team designed an Escape Rooms style session to improve the digital capabilities of academic staff and introduce a range of digital tools that could be used within their teaching. The session was delivered to all staff studying the PGCert HE programme and was delivered to large numbers of academic staff during the University’s annual Learning and Teaching Conference.
The activity, “The Mystery of the Golden Skull”, took participants through a number of problem-solving tasks, using gamification to enhance engagement. Each task involved working with a different technology, widely available to both staff and students, to either introduce the technology or an alternative way of using it. The tasks involved problem solving; interacting with physical objects and quizzes, along with digital activities involving 360-degree video, ePortfolios, media repositories and interactive posters with augmented reality (AR). Discussion time at the end of the session meant that participants could discuss how they might go on to use the tools within their teaching.
The development of an Escape Room experience involves a complex planning process with testing and refinements to be made (Villagrava et al., 2014). However the gamification approach offered a unique opportunity to offer fun team working elements which promote learning engagement through the advancement of the learners knowledge (Kapp, 2012; Tsay, Luo and Kofinas, 2018), and utilises problem-based learning to increase learners retention (Villagrava et al., 2014).
The approach has received a great response from all staff who have attended and received the most positive feedback from all sessions at the LT Conference. The enthusiasm of academic staff to participate in the Escape Room has meant active engagement in Digital Capabilities training across the institution and some of the staff who attended have also been inspired to design similar digital capability escape rooms for their students.
This kind of teaching and learning exercise is now being used within the BA (Hons) News and Sport Journalism at the university who have been encouraged by the above activity, to develop a workshop for their students. A case study was created for students to follow learning about the types of technology used within the journalism industry, providing the students with a close to real-world learning experience. The process involved them reading or watching examples about emerging technology being used within journalism, to then answer questions about this information. The students were also creating elements along the way, from a video report, QR code and an Augmented reality element to add to their final mix-media output. This authentic and active teaching and learning experience allows the students to engage in the technology used in the industry, developing their transferable life-wide and graduate attribute skills, enabling them to perform well while studying and beyond (Jisc, 2009; Race, 2010, 2014; University of Derby, 2017a; Gyimah, 2018).
Considering evaluations from the students experience of completing this kind of activity. With all this in mind, can this kind of teaching and learning experience be implemented across a range of disciplines?
Gyimah, S. (2018) Announcing the results of our student digital experience survey, Jisc.ac.uk. Available at: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/blog/announcing-the-results-of-the-2018-student-digital-experience-survey-11-sep-2018 (Accessed: 27 November 2018).
Jisc (2009) Effective Assessment in a Digital Age: A guide to technology-enhanced assessment and feedback, Jisc.ac.uk.
Kapp, K. (2012) The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: game-based methods and strategies for training and education. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.
Race, P. (2010) Making Learning Happen: A guide for post-compulsory education. 2nd edn. London: Sage Publications.
Race, P. (2014) ‘Assessment driving learning’, in Making Learning Happen: A Guide for Post-Compulsory Education. 3rd edn. SAGE Publications, pp. 71–130.
Tsay, C. H.-H., Luo, J. and Kofinas, A. (2018) ‘Enhancing student learning experience with technology-mediated gamification: An empirical study’, Computers & Education, 121, pp. 1–17.
University of Derby (2017) Assessment and Feedback Strategy 2017-2020, derby.ac.uk. Available at: https://www.derby.ac.uk/services/centre-for-excellence-learning-teaching/strategies/ (Accessed: 27 November 2018).
Villagrava, S. et al. (2014) ‘Teaching Case of Gamifacation and Visual Technologies for Education’, Journal of Case on Information Technology, 16(4), pp. 38–57.