Build Your Own Escape Room: Theoretical Foundations, Models, and Practical Design Tips

Brief Abstract

You are trapped in a room and the clock is ticking down! There are a collection of puzzles scattered around the space and you must work alongside friends, coworkers, and potentially strangers to escape in time. Join us as we look under the hood and break down the process for designing, developing, and implementing Escape Rooms in physical or virtual environments.

Escape Rooms offer a framework to engage participants in collaborative challenges, encourage individuals to overcome failure through play, and utilize mystery and curiosity to motivate learning experiences. Such activities are rich for a variety of contexts like team building, self-directed learning, and breaking down social barriers in classrooms, as part of professional development or to hook the attention of individuals from any learning environment. At its core, Escape Rooms can be as simple as a collection of small challenges that are narratively connected. We will focus on this accessible form of Escape Room activities.

During this session we will begin by exploring readymade Escape Room activities from four different creators who bring a variety of approaches to this space. Additionally, these examples are crafted with the intention you could reuse or remix them to suit your own needs. Following this experiential activity, the presenters will share their familiarity, scholarship, and recommendations for using Escape Rooms as engaging activities. Lastly, there will be significant development time for attendees to experiment and craft their own Escape Room challenges alongside the aid of the presenters.

By the end of this session, participants will have the beginnings of their own Escape Room ready to deploy or expand.Following this session, participants will be able to:

  • Access the readymade, and easily customizable, Escape Room elements and activities to implement into their own project
  • Develop a prototype Escape Room
  • Exclusive access to the OLC Accelerate 2022 Escape Room

There is a fee of $300 for this pre-conference Master Class. You may also register for this Master Class as part of a special $550 Combo package of 2 Master Classes (1 AM and 1 PM class).

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Pronouns: she, her, hers Twitter: @MaddieShellgren As the Director of Online Engagement, Madeline (Maddie) Shellgren serves as the lead innovator, designer, and project manager of the OLC's portfolio of online engagement opportunities. Known for her love of storytelling, play, and all things gameful, Maddie thrives on facilitating and designing meaningful ways for people to connect, learn, and grow together. Within the OLC, she has served on steering and operations committees for several of the organization’s conferences (including as Technology Test Kitchen and Innovation Studio lead, as well as Engagement Co-Chair) and has had the distinct honor of being the mastermind behind the OLC Escape Rooms. She looks forward to continuing supporting OLC community building efforts, is committed to sustainable, equitable, and anti-oppressive ecologies within education, and is genuinely excited to leverage her interdisciplinary scholarly and professional backgrounds as she helps lead the OLC towards truly innovative and transformative models for what’s possible for online and digital engagement. Maddie joins the OLC from Michigan State University (MSU), where she has served as the lead on numerous student success initiatives related to instructional design and technology, accessibility, and equity and inclusion. Over the past eleven years, Maddie has dedicated her professional life to teaching and learning related initiatives and has strategically sought out opportunities that give her a multi-dimensional perspective on teaching and learning, including working as a Standardized Patient training medical students, serving as Program Director for Teaching Assistant development, taking lead on a number of cross-institutional educator onboarding and professional development projects, and teaching across online and face-to-face contexts. She most recently worked as an Assistant Rowing Coach for the MSU Varsity Women’s Rowing Program. There she was given the opportunity to help redesign a community from the bottom up, story the team's new journey together in fun and multimodal ways, lead in the co-construction of community expectations and norms, help ensure alignment across a variety of stakeholders and initiatives, and develop and operationalize strategic structures for long-term sustainability (such as entirely new social media, marketing, communications, and content management strategies). She had the privilege of seeing the impact of her human-centered and equity-oriented approach each and every day as the team reimagined what it meant to be a Spartan on the MSU Rowing Team. With her move to the OLC, she will continue on as a volunteer coach, still supporting these efforts and the team, and is excited to get back on the water.
Keegan Long-Wheeler is an educational technologist in the Office of Digital Learning at the University of Oklahoma. Keegan uses his background in science, pedagogy, and technology to provide instructors with holistic solutions to their instructional and technological needs. Additionally, Keegan passionately creates open source professional development curriculum to engage faculty in digital literacy, experiential learning, game design, coding, and more! In particular, Keegan loves working with Domain of One's Own projects and his open professional development programs: GOBLIN, eXperience Play, WebFest, Canvas Camp, and more!
Cody House serves as the Director of Online Learning and Instructional Technology with the College of Professional Studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Since joining the GW community he has spent his time constantly pushing to implement new and emerging technologies within the College of Professional Studies.

Extended Abstract