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Design and evaluation of a new consolidation exercise for students studying cardiac physiology: a digital escape room.


The current student body will, by and large, seek online resources to supplement their learning. However, resources that are freely available online vary in accuracy and quality, and the vast majority rely on passive learning. Therefore, there is a need for interactive physiology teaching resources that facilitate application of knowledge, that can be accessed by students in their own time. The aim of this study was to design a digital escape room on the topic of cardiac arrhythmias and to evaluate this resource as a consolidation exercise to support learning and enjoyment of physiology. The digital escape room was designed as a series of interactive puzzles and created with a website page builder on a freely accessible WordPress site. To facilitate engagement, the escape room incorporated a countdown timer. Second-year medical students were invited to play the digital escape room remotely as a group exercise after delivery of the relevant teaching. Evaluation of the resource took place quantitatively with Google Analytics and Tag Manager software and qualitatively with a questionnaire (Microsoft Forms). Quantitative evaluation suggested that the puzzles were created across a range of difficulties but that most groups were able to complete the exercise and remained engaged throughout. Student feedback suggests that the format of the resource was rated positively, and most participants felt that the game helped to consolidate and apply their knowledge of cardiovascular physiology. Future studies will focus on examining whether the cardiovascular-themed digital escape room improves knowledge attainment among students studying physiology in higher education.NEW & NOTEWORTHY This article describes the design and development of a new, freely accessible cardiovascular-themed digital escape room. This web-based resource promotes active learning by facilitating problem-solving and application of physiology knowledge while working against a clock.

Acceptance Date Dec 5, 2022
Publication Date Mar 1, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 2, 2024
Journal Advances in Physiology Education
Print ISSN 1043-4046
Electronic ISSN 1522-1229
Publisher American Physiological Society
Volume 47
Issue 1
Pages 82 - 92
Keywords arrhythmias; cardiac physiology; educational resource; escape room
Publisher URL