an image of a person's shadow standing in front of a door with a key hole


This resource describes digital escape rooms for collaborative learning and steps for implementation.

What Are Digital Escape Rooms

Escape rooms can be a fun, exciting way to unlock a mystery in a collaborative manner. In physical escape rooms teams work together to solve various clues and unlock codes so that they can essentially escape the room. Escape rooms can be engaging active learning activities that allow students to review course concepts with their peers during class. Escape rooms can translate well into virtual, synchronous settings by building them in a tool such as Google Forms and assigning students to specific groups or breakout rooms to solve the clues. 

The links below provide some inspiration to sample digital escape rooms, including some that are educational and others that are for purely entertainment purposes. These examples highlight the diversity of what a digital escape room can look like, and the varying tools that can be used to develop them (e.g. Google Forms, Google Sites, Google Slides, and ThingLink).  

How to Implement Digital Escape Rooms in the Classroom

After reviewing a few examples, see the 10-step process below presented in Neumann et al. (2020, p. 420-421) to see what it can entail:

  1. Determine which group of students you are creating the digital escape room for, the length of time you will give students to complete the escape room, your intended level of difficulty, topic(s) to be covered, and learning objectives. 
  2. Create a list of the 3-5 most important takeaways from the topic your digital escape room will be covering. 
  3. Write one question for each important takeaway that would encourage students to demonstrate and/or apply what they have learned.
  4. Write a background story that provides the context or theme for the room or environment your students are trying to escape from. Hide clues in the background story that presents the first puzzle students need to solve to unlock the first lock.
  5. Find or create an image of the “room” or environment students will be escaping from. In step 7, you will hide links to additional puzzles that assist students in unlocking other locks.
  6. Create puzzles for the remaining questions you wrote in step 3. Consider using the provided puzzle resources to assist you in creating the puzzles.
  7. Hide the links to each puzzle you created in step 6 in the image of the room or environment students will escape from.
  8. Create a form for students to submit their puzzle solutions and unlock each of the locks. If possible, create a section for each lock and require response validation for text that contains only the answer; this will prevent students from moving to the next lock before they have submitted the correct response.
  9. Compile your background story, room/environment image, and form in a single location for students to access and complete.
  10. After implementing, evaluate the learning objectives, get feedback from students about their experiences, and update the digital escape room as necessary.

Neumann et al. (2020) provides access to a template to complete the steps above, as well as a list of sample tools that can be used to create the escape room.  


Neumann, K.L., Alvarado-Albertorio, F. & Ramírez-Salgado, A. (2020). Online Approaches for Implementing a Digital Escape Room with Preservice Teachers. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 28(2), 415-424. Waynesville, NC USA: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education. Retrieved February 19, 2021 from 

Additional Resources

Creating Digital Escape Rooms (video and slides from Professors at Play)  

How to Build a Digital Escape Room Using Google Forms

Digital Escape Rooms With ThingLink & Google Forms

How to Create a Digital Breakout for the Classroom

Music Teachers: How to Set Up Your First Escape Room

Breakout EDU 


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