E-Learning Module

Unit 2 Grain 6
Preparing briefing and debriefing process
60 minutes
  • To give insight on what briefing is and why it is an essential tool in an Educational Escape Room;
  • To give insight on what debriefing is and why it is an essential tool in a learning process;
  • To allow to practice one model of debriefing.
  • Learners will get acquainted with the educational debriefing activities;
  • learners will become aware of the importance of debriefing in creating an educational Escape Room;
  • learners will be able to use debriefing tool in educational ER and other educational activities to enhance learning.

Table of content

This part of the unit gives insights on an introduction or a short set of instructions before the game, also known as BRIEFING. There are different ways how the participants of escape rooms can be briefed. The most popular ones are: video briefing, a Game Master’s briefing, a letter with a briefing message, or phone message, a poster and others. However, all of them provide the participants with the rules of the game, deal with the back story of the game and elaborate on the mission goal or goals. The rules are important to have a healthy and meaningful pastime with no harm to the participants and the room itself, to comprehend the flow of the game and get introduced to different lock and props. The back story aids to get more immersed into the game and become real members of the adventure. The mission goal is in most of time to escape, though the goals may vary on the scenario and escape room design.  In a briefing part the participants are usually clearly told what they have to achieve or complete to be better oriented and not to waste their precious playing time doing extra puzzles. 

Briefing is used in almost all escape rooms: recreational and educational, it is integral part of this game, while Debriefing makes any escape room an educational one. 

A well-known and famous American philosopher and educator John Dewey (1859-1952) claimed that “We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.”  

Debriefing is a tool for reflecting on the learning process and mostly belongs to non-formal methods of teaching and training. 

A good educational Escape Room should provide an engaging experience for learners. Observing and analyzing the behaviour and attitudes of the ER participants as they leave the game leads to the conclusion that the participants are not adequately aware of the educational goal behind the engagement and fun they had.  

So, if you were to ask the ER players what they learned, they would be quite surprised by the question as they had just had fun and experienced learning in a different way. Therefore, including a debriefing into the game is important, as turns it into a more effective learning experience and it does not necessarily demand lots of preparation and time, and can be adapted to any learning activity to contribute to learning goals.   

Debriefing is critical because it helps learners explore:  

  • what went on, 
  • talk about their experiences, 
  • develop insights, 
  • reduce negative feelings about aspects of the activity,  
  • connect the activities to their real-life situations. 

There are a lot different debriefing models to adapt but the most important concepts are having the learner describe what happened, asking them to analyze their performance, and encouraging them to talk about how this experience could be applied to the real world. 

Important! Debriefing should be planned and included into the ER design and the process. It is always desirable to have a space provided other than the Room itself. Learners should change the setting and mentally move out of the room to reflect on the learning. We would suggest to have a table (a round table would be the best!) and chairs to allow the learners to feel comfortable and switch to discussion and interaction. 

Can you think of any potential suitable room next to ER? 

Write a couple of examples:

  1. Ex. We are going to install a table and 6 chairs around in the hall next to the escape room.

In this grain we will introduce 5 different debriefing groups of questions to use for the reflection on Escape Room activity. 

First, the learners describe their feelings about the activity. Escape Rooms may potentially involve stress and provoke all different emotional behaviors, so it is essential to talk about the feelings. 

How do you feel now? How did you feel while being locked? How did you feel first, when you entered the room? What made you to feel relieved/stressed?  These questions can be varied according to the participants feelings you observe after or during the game while monitoring. 

Think of 3-4 similar questions for your learners about the feelings they have experienced:


Second, “What did you?” is the question which helps learners return to the game and see it in different stages, moments, parts and reconnect them with what they have just been doing for a better analysis of the experience.  

You can ask the learners to sequence the activity using First, Next, Then and Finally. You can create a task such as: tell your friends what you did and convince them to participate in the game. 

Think of 3-4 similar questions for your learners about the activities they performed: 


Third, the learners explore what they learned during the activity. What did you learn? It is a very straight forward question and that is why not always easy to be answered. It can be advisable to assist the learners in differentiating learning outcomes. STEAM objectives and outcomes may not be very comprehensible at first. Mostly, the participants will elaborate on the results, they learned how to open the padlocks, how connect puzzles etc. So, you can lead the discussion in the desired direction according to the goals and objectives that had been set.     

Think of 3-4 similar questions for your learners about their learning outcomes: 


Fourth, the learners tie that learning to their own experiences from the real world or other  things they have learned before. The questions can be directly or indirectly connected to the tasks in ER. The questions could be asked: Have you done or seen the puzzles similar to ES before? Have you ever had to solve a real-life problem on your own? What skills did you need to solve the problem? Have you ever been locked in a room? How did you get out? Have you ever wondered how things are made? Have you ever lost anything and how did you find that? What strategies if any did you apply while seeking the thing lost? 

Think of 3-4 similar questions for your learners about the similar experience they had had before:  


Fifth, the learners consider what happened and how what they learned might apply in future or in a different context. Here you can suggest learners to imagine that they will go through the ER again. What would they do differently? If they play the game similar to the ER, what they will change in their behaviour/strategy? Are they planning to use the strategies in their Science/Math classes?  

Think of 3-4 similar questions for your learners about the game following up. 


To sum up the review on debriefing it is essential to mention that this model of reflection should involve a lot of meaningful interaction and thus, it is advisable that the learners of the ER have prior knowledge or have previously been introduced to the tool before. A well planned and thoroughly thought out debriefing process will contribute to better learning results and a pleasure of learning.

Materials and Resources

Red Door Escape Room

Preprint of Nicholson, S. (2012). Completing the Experience: Debriefing in Experiential Educational Games. In the Proceedings of The 3rd I nternational Conference on Society and Information Technologies. Winter Garden, Florida: International Institute of Informatics andSystemics. 117-121.

MalJikou Grnhaul loafm EBduechaltoiol n and Educational Development Vol. 1 No. 2 (December 2014) 156-165

Q1. Choose the correct definition:

a. Briefing is a set of safety rules.
b. Briefing is a set of instructions of the game.
c. Briefing is a summary of the back story of the game.
d. Briefing is a brief explanation of the mission goals.
e. Briefing is all mentioned above.

Q2. Complete the sentences:

a. Debriefing is critical because…
b. Learners should change…
c. 5 different debriefing groups of questions are: Feelings,……..

Q3. Why is it important to shift Escape Room for debriefing?

a. To have fun.
b. To let your learners mentally move out of the room.
c. To allow the game master prepare the Escape Room.


Q1: e
Q2: Open answers
Q3: b