Promoting Healthy Nutrition through Educational Escape Games

Tal Yachin, Miri Barak
InSITE 2019  •  2019  •  pp. 217-226
Aim/Purpose: The increased production of processed food, rapid urbanization, and changing lifestyles have led to a shift in dietary patterns so people are now consuming more unhealthy foods. To change unhealthy dietary patterns, there is a need to educate the individuals to keep a balanced diet that is rich in nutritional requirements. One way to educate a heterogeneous population, from preschool to adults, is by learning through games.

Background: In recent years, the use of games as a pedagogical method is gaining momen-tum. Game-based learning (GBL) refers to any learning environments or activities that use games to support learning and teaching. GBL enables learners to practice skills that traditional teaching may not offer and promote more efficient learning. GBL includes various types of games; one of them is escape games (EG), which have become a popular trend in the world. Because EG are a relatively new phenomenon, the research on their development and educational value is still in its initial stages.

Methodology: The current study is set to develop a methodology for ‘educational EG’ and to examine its role in promoting knowledge, awareness, and motivation toward a healthy nutrition. The study’s theoretical framework is guided by the situated learning theory, as EG are situated in a unique setting that instigates interactions between the players and between them and the learning environment. The research questions are 1. What is the educational potential of escape games? 2. Whether and how can EG promote knowledge, awareness, and motivation toward a healthy nutrition? 3. What are the predicting factors of knowledge, awareness, and motivation toward a healthy nutrition, in the context of educational EG?

Contribution: The research’s contributions are in three levels: In the theoretical level, the study contributes a layer of knowledge on situated learning environments, offering a new model for the development and implementation of educational EG. In the methodological level, the study presents valid and reliable research tools for examining the effectiveness of educational EG. In the practical level, the study provides a tangible EG kit on healthy nutrition.

Findings: Initial findings indicated on an overall increase in the participants’ positive views about EG as a situated learning environment. The findings also indicated that participation in an EG has a potential to promote knowledge and awareness of nutrition-related issues. The players’ motivation to learn about nutrition increased after participating in the game, mainly due to an increase in their sense of self-efficacy.
game-based learning, educational escape games, situated learning theory
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