Room to Escape and to Learn

Changing teaching methods in France is anything but a game. Yet that is just the solution devised by Sapiens, the teaching support service of the University of Sorbonne Paris Cité (USPC). With LearningScape, Sapiens has created an escape game to help university instructors acquire new skills while having fun. Spoiler alert!

LearningScape de l'USPC

The next escape room challenge? Creating a classroom-ready kit. // © Capture d’écran / USPC

Changing teaching methods in France is anything but a game. Yet that is just the solution devised by Sapiens, the teaching support service of the University of Sorbonne Paris Cité (USPC). With LearningScape, Sapiens has created an escape game to help university instructors acquire new skills while having fun. Spoiler alert!

Camille, a young French university professor, can’t get to sleep the night before her first class. What should she do? That’s just one of the questions raised in LearningScape, the new escape game designed by Sapiens, the teaching support service of the University of Sorbonne Paris Cité (USPC), and the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI). The game took roughly a dozen people five months to create and launched in February.

Unlocking Excellence

In two small rooms, four players spend an hour deploying all the popular escape room tips and tricks. Yet instead of solving a police investigation, they must free Camille from her nightmare so she can go to class fresh and relaxed.

With just their wits and imagination to help them, the search is on for the teaching methodology keys to unlock LearningScape’s mysteries. One code, for example, is revealed when desks are moved into a semicircle, creating a more interactive environment. For Sapiens teaching advisor Morgane Maridet, « The goal of this project was to find a fun way to introduce the USPC faculty to certain university teaching methods. »

Team Players

The second session in June was open to all French university staff. Professors played alongside instructional designers like École des Ponts ParisTech’s Gilles Buisson. He recalls, « It addressed innovation in teaching in a less serious way. That’s what our schools are missing: a relaxed approach to the topic, free from the strategic and policy considerations. »

Aside from introducing new concepts, LearningScape creates a strong group dynamic. École des Ponts ParisTech assistant director of education Sandrine Guérin notes, « The experience was very inspiring in terms of team building but you quickly forget why you are there. » To remedy that problem, each game finishes with a debriefing session.

Real-World Applications

LearningScape is scheduled to close this summer but its influence lives on. Maridet explains, « Professors have contacted us to see how they can integrate the game into their own classes. » The next escape room challenge? Creating a classroom-ready kit.

Read the article (in French)

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