The escape room: using a simple text-based game to promote business undergraduates’ digital self-reliance




escape room, games-based learning, digital self-reliance, business education, undergraduates


This case study aims to highlight the ease of use and effectiveness of an escape room game by describing how it was implemented in an undergraduate business course. The case study demonstrates the simplicity of a straightforward text-based game and how this was used in a large course of online students. Our case study aims to present our experience of implementing the escape room game from a practical perspective. We add to our narrative some descriptive statistics from a student survey conducted after the game. The case study builds on existing work in this field by extending its use beyond small face-to-face sessions to a technique suitable for far larger classes in an online format.

Author Biographies

Matt Offord, University of Glasgow

Matt Offord is a leadership scholar and Academic Lead for Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching (TELT) at the Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow. He has an MBA in Leadership Studies from Strathclyde Business School and a PhD in Management from Durham University Business School, completed in 2017.

Sarah Honeychurch, University of Glasgow

Sarah works as a Good Practice Adviser and Learning Technology Specialist at the University of Glasgow. She has a BA and MA in Philosophy from the University of Southampton and a PhD in Education from the University of Glasgow. 

Sarah’s current research interests focus on the importance for learning of peer interaction and peer support, and she is developing a portfolio of learning designs that help to facilitate peer learning. In particular, she is an advocate of models of learning, teaching and assessment that help students to develop critical skills that help to give them a justified sense of confidence in their abilities. Peer review is an obvious candidate here, but less well-known designs such as Patchwork Text and Adaptive Comparative Judgement (ACJ) also have potential, and she is keen to evaluate their use in Higher Education.

Sarah is interested in working with colleagues across ASBS in order to develop and support models of learning appropriate for Business School Education.

Nick Quinn, University of Glasgow

Nick joined the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School in 2019 as a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship. He graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2004 with a PhD in Entrepreneurship and also holds an MBA (with Distinction), an MSc in Marketing and a BA Hons in Economics. His PhD research focused on the provision of business support networks for small businesses in Scotland.

Prior to joining the University of Glasgow, Nick worked in a variety of roles, including as a Director of a manufacturing business. For the 8 years before joining the Business School, he worked as a management consultant in the areas of organisational development, culture and leadership. In this capacity, he has worked with hundreds of companies of all sizes and in all sectors throughout the UK and has also designed and delivered executive education programmes with a wide variety of organisations.

Nick is the Programme Leader for the MSc Professional Pathways Programme, the MBA Dissertation Convenor and Associate Director of Connections with Practice for the Business School

Matt Barr, University of Glasgow

Dr Matthew Barr is a lecturer at the University of Glasgow, where he previously convened the University’s first game studies course and was the founding editor of the international student game studies journal, Press Start. He is currently based in the Centre for Computing Science Education, where he leads the Graduate Apprenticeship in Software Engineering programme and is co-director of the University’s Games and Gaming Lab. He is also a member of the University’s Teaching Excellence Network.

Barr’s research, which has attracted significant media attention, examines how video games may be used to develop skills and competencies such as critical thinking, adaptability, and communication skill. This work received the Association for Learning Technology’s inaugural Research Project of the Year award in 2018 and forms the basis of his book, Graduate Skills and Game-Based Learning, published with Palgrave in 2019. Barr currently serves as Vice Chair of British DiGRA (the Digital Games Research Association) and as a Director and Trustee for the Scottish Game Developers Association. He also sits on the BAFTA Scotland Committee, where he serves as the current Games Jury Chair.

Helen Mullen, University of Glasgow

Helen is a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the Adam Smith Business School where she teaches entrepreneurship and innovation-related subjects. She is the Deputy Programme Leader for MSc Financial Technology, the Convenor for the MSc Financial Technology Pathway Projects, Academic Lead (Management) for Assurance of Learning, and Programme Design and Development,  a member of the Connections with Practice Committee, and the Adam Smith Business School liaison for the College of Arts.

Helen graduated from the University of Glasgow with a PhD in Management, supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and has a PgDip and MRes (Research Methodology in Business and Management) and a First-Class BA (Hons) in Marketing, with awards in marketing and international marketing, both from the University of Strathclyde.

Helen teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate level with a focus on enterprise and entrepreneurship, where she has a particular interest in experiential learning, employability, and games-based learning.


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How to Cite

Offord, M., Honeychurch, S., Quinn, N., Barr, M. and Mullen, H. . (2022) “The escape room: using a simple text-based game to promote business undergraduates’ digital self-reliance”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (23). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.vi23.855.



Case Studies