Digital Escape Rooms in Moodle

Gamification allows an instructor to bring an element of fun and adventure into the classroom. While there are many ways to gamify a classroom at any level of investment, one of the most fun ways is to introduce a digital escape room into your classroom. With the current Moodle plug-ins you can build your puzzles, set up pathways for them to maneuver within the “room” and then allow them to puzzle solve their way through your scenario. 

What is an escape room?

Popularized in the states in the early 2010’s, escape rooms are typically story-driven experiences or events in which participants are given an overarching theme and riddle or puzzle to solve, and will have to use their critical thinking skills to escape! Typically a “traditional” escape room consists of participants being locked into a room or series of rooms they will progress through from approximately 45-60 minutes and will have to solve puzzles to progress and (hopefully!) escape! Participants will have to sift through boxes, and trinkets, use their environment and call upon their problem solving skills to resolve the riddles in the room. Depending on the scope of the story, the difficulty level of the room, or the complexity of the storyline, there can be only a few puzzles, or a multitude of riddles to resolve, and can include decoy clues and hints to lead participants astray!

Additionally, with the popularity of physical escape rooms, other versions of escape games have appeared. With rentable escape rooms for home or business team-building events, and card based escape rooms appearing in most board game stores. There’s always a way for someone who likes the puzzle solving attributes of an escape room to find a way to do them nearly anywhere! 

While puzzle games are no stranger to the internet – even “escape rooms” is derived from the video game term “escape the room,” a style of game – there the pandemic certainly made them a new adventure in more homes. With games like the We Were Here Series, and Escape Simulator, there’s endless possibilities for puzzle solving afficionados to continue the adventures at home. Additionally, creators of physical escape rooms started to create more digital versions of their rooms. Offering instructions and puzzles to be solved while in a Zoom, Teams or Discord call, or could be downloaded online and done among friends virtually. 

What does that have to do with your classroom?

Digital Escape rooms offer a break from the normal assignment type for your students. It allows them to see a potentially real-world scenario in which they will need to solve puzzles and answer what are essentially quiz questions to move through their content assessment. This can act as a quiz of a kind, or just another study method. However you decide to use it, it’s a great way to get students to engage with your classroom and content beyond your more traditional assignment scope.


Why Digital Escape Rooms?

Creating safe learning environments that favor the learning process is a main objective for teaching and learning. The creation of these spaces and the positive emotions within them surrounding learning are imperative in the transmission of knowledge and mastery of competencies. Offering students a chance to break from the normal structure of our traditional classrooms offers us the ability to reengage our learners in a positive and fun way that reinforces their competencies, while building meaningful relationships with the content. Regardless of whether or not you utilize a fantasy theme for your escape room, or a real-world scenario, your students should be able to showcase their collaborative skills (if you choose to have them participate in groups), and real-world problem solving capabilities. 

Most importantly though, it’s FUN. Students have been known to have more engagement and motivation to do the work when they are enjoying the content they interact with and have positive emotions tied to their courses, classrooms, and content. 

The specific goals of a digital escape room really do depend on how you choose to utilize it within your classroom. 


  • Engage students in content material 
  • Increase motivation to continue to work through content and coursework
  • Utilize and strengthen student’s critical thinking and problem solving capabilities
  • Assess content knowledge and memory recall of information
  • Encourage researching or resource management for students who need to review course materials to help solve the puzzles. 



The escape room is what you make of it. Whether you’re using it as an official assessment tool, a fun activity or homework, or just for some fun content review, there is no end to the possibilities or the fun your students can have within your classroom. All they have to do is solve the puzzles and escape!


On Campus Resources

Educational Technology staff is available for consultation on project planning, design, and to teach workshops or tutorials on various software. They can be contacted by Email ( or can be booked for consultations through Bookings.

There is an introduction to making the simplest and most basic escape room using these same instructions in video format so that you can see which plug-ins to use and have a more visual set of instructions. 


Additional Readings and Resources

  • While they are more geared towards K12 learning, particularly in the Google sphere, Ditch that Textbook offers resources on how to create a more engaging classroom overall. Their Digital Escape Room content has step-by-step instructions on how to create an escape room, but again they are using Google Programs. They do however, give examples for how other instructors are utilizing digital escape rooms, and offer a copy of their google slides document to help you plan your first escape room!
  • A case study in utilizing an escape room (With a Harry Potter theme) to help teach stoichiometry to college undergraduates
  • A case study where computer science students in a vocational high school used a digital escape room as an end of the year review system collaboratively
  • This particular case study has a unique use of the quizzing and assessment layout for the students, with another particularly unique “skin” on the quizzing feature itself. This study was done with Aerospace Engineering students. 


How do you do it?

There are a few key steps that help you get going on your very first digital escape room for your students:

  1. Storyboard, Storyboard, Storyboard – What’s the story? How do your students move through the puzzles? What’s the end goal?
  2. Write your “locks” – your locks are what allows students to advance to the next room, or escape! While you’ll need to do a lot more writing later on, you will need to know what type of question you will be using for your students to “Beat” the room. 
  3. Find or make your rooms!  – You can use premade images, or create your own space in another program. H5P will not have the capability to build the room itself, so if you are choosing to physically build the room out, you will need to do so in another program and then save it as an image. 
  4. Write your clues! – What’s in the room, what can your students access and what will it provide them as a participant in the room?

So what’s the tech?  

(If you’re using photos or other backgrounds and not making your own) You’ll simply need to log into Moodle!

Unfortunately, there is no way to build the imagery for the escape room in the same space as your escape room itself, so you’ll need 2 plug-ins for Moodle: H5P () and Lesson ().

First, start in H5P, this is where you are going to build the skeleton for your clues and “rooms.” You’ll need to have selected an image background. While there are several ways that you could add your image and have your students interact, the recommendation for your first room is to stick with the “hot spots.” Once your layout is built and you have all of your hotspots (try to limit it to 5-6 per “room”) you’ll need to download the H5P file to ensure that it gets to your Lesson. 

Second, you’ll move to your Lesson plug-in. You can create any content pages for them to start that will allow them to see explanations of what they’re about to do, introductions to your storyline, etc. Build them the same way that you would build your content pages in Moodle elsewhere. One the content page that you’re interested in placing your “room” just hit the H5P button on the text box options and it’ll ask you to upload the H5P option to the content page

Lastly, you’ll need to build your “quiz” questions and any other content that branches off of the main room. Be sure to check that everything branches correctly as it can be difficult to build the pathways as you are building. The easiest trick is to categorize your quiz questions as well as your content pages, questions, and branching pages in the lesson. 

That’s it?

That’s it! You’re ready to start building your own escape room within Moodle! You can always go back in and delete any H5P content from your course so that you can easily transfer your courses without the “extra stuff.” Your h5P content should live in the lesson. It is recommended that you have backups of the H5P content off the server so that you can easily fix any errors Moodle or computers may have with content in future course shells. 

Fore more detailed explanation with a walkthrough of how to build your own escape room template, be sure to check out this video. 

How do you grade an escape room?

That’s entirely up to you in how you use the escape room and the puzzles that you have them solve along the way! In a more complex based puzzle, maybe it’s a full quiz worth of questions scattered throughout the various rooms that you have created for them, and they’ll get a “pass/fail” based on whether or not they progressed through the rooms and escaped! Maybe you’ll allow them to progress with hints, and utilizing hints might decrease their score – giving them fewer stars out of 5 on finishing, accounting for time and hints used. 

The possibilities are endless when it comes to how you assess your escape room. Regardless of whether you choose to grade the room, or simply use it as a fun study aid or activity, you’ll need to keep communicating with your students and provide clear guidelines on how to prepare for the adventure – just like any other project or assignment!