John Heider

Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Linda Silvernail


This action research study explored the potential approaches to and benefits of educational escape games in secondary school social studies classes. The problem of practice that guided this study is the lack of data on whether or how teachers should use escape games. This study was based on a constructivist theoretical framework and explored the following research questions:

1. To what extent can playing and designing educational escape games advance students' affective development, including engagement, resilience, and intrinsic motivation?

2. To what extent can escape games advance students' cognitive development, including content mastery and critical thinking skills?

3. To what extent can escape games advance students' interpersonal development, including collaboration and communication skills?

The researcher engaged three groups of high school students with two escape games each. The mix of qualitative and quantitative data generated during these interventions was analyzed and brought into conversation with the findings of previous studies on educational escape games. This study generated statistically significant findings that may help fill gaps in the literature on educational escape games. These findings led to the creation of an action plan for the primary researcher and others to further benefit from or conduct research on educational escape games.


© 2019, John Heider