ERSE: How to develop an inclusive and accessible
pedagogical escape game - Part 2.
In the first part of this article we looked at the escape game environment. Indeed, for an escape game to be successful, it requires that the staging and the situation are thought out and adapted to the needs of the audience. The ambiance, the atmosphere, the sets must be arranged to meet not only the requirements of the game but also to offer a reassuring and encouraging setting that promotes the best possible experience in terms of entertainment, emotion and learning for the participants.
As you will have understood, learning scape should be a convivial moment of sharing, learning and collaboration.
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To ensure that your educational escape game is a success, the inclusive material development part and the role of the game master are as much a must as the layout of the room itself.
Developing your puzzles
You want to surprise the participants with a variety of puzzles and offer playful, intriguing and stimulating combinations.
To do this, you need to ask yourself a few essential questions:
• Choice of font
Are the characters large enough, contrasting, readable for everyone, for those with learning disabilities as well as for those with vision problems?
Prefer a sans serif font and ideally print on a medium where the content is well contrasted and visible (avoid tone on tone to make it easier to read and decipher for people with learning disabilities such as dyslexia).
• Difficulty of the texts
Also use simple vocabulary and don’t hesitate to substitute words with pictures.
• Is the puzzle easy to handle?
S’il faut effectuer une série de pliages ou faire un puzzle, assurez-vous que cela ne présentera pas de difficulté pour des participants qui ont des troubles de la motricité fine (de type dyspraxie).
• A digital riddle?
This can be a good alternative but again, make sure that the hardware is suitable and easy to use (joystick, keyboard, mouse, touch interface) as a motor impairment can limit the player in solving the puzzle especially if it has to be completed in a limited time.
• An enigma on video?
This is a very good idea, it allows you to add a little interactivity and diversity to your media. But don’t forget to include sound and subtitles.
To make the escape game more fun and make it more accessible, it is a good idea to consider resources and puzzles that make use of adaptation tools such as sign language, Braille, the dactylological alphabet, the thermal inflation of a maze…
The indispensable role of the game master
As you well know, there is no escape game without a master of the game. This one has a key role for many reasons:
Welcome, introduction, instructions.
At first it is he who welcomes and introduces the game, which are very important moments. Indeed, making the participants feel comfortable and confident before the beginning of the game conditions in a way the smooth running of the game. For this, verbal and non-verbal communication is very important.
It is therefore necessary to ensure that :
- The information and indications given are extremely clear and ensure that they are well assimilated and understood by all.
- Prevent if certain steps are difficult to access for a person with a disability or a learning disability.
- Ask questions about player profiles to identify possible risks or adapt the way the puzzles are given as the game progresses.
- Establish a warm, trusting and relaxed atmosphere, because the participants are above all there to be entertained.
Give the clues and accompany the players through the game.
For this task, the game master must be extremely attentive so that the game remains stimulating for the players, but that they do not get stuck during the whole game either.
It is therefore necessary that the master of the game :
- accompanies the participants in the adventure by giving them at the right moment the clues or the thumbs-up necessary for them to solve the riddles and succeed in finishing the game. The participants must be stimulated but not frustrated.
- Anticipate how to give the clues according to an audience with a specific need or disability, for example in audio mode (loudspeaker or telephone) or rather in visual mode (slip a piece of paper under the door).
Here again, the profile of the participants can guide the game master in choosing an effective and adapted mode of communication (depending on the players suffering from vision, hearing and speech disorders).
Good atmosphere and a successful playful and educational experience
Generally speaking, the master of the game is a bit like the ambassador of adventure. It is up to him to motivate and involve the participants so that they integrate and acquire the educational messages delivered during the escape game. The more the participants keep this experience in mind as a positive and enjoyable memory, the better the content will be retained and assimilated.
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