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Escape Games as training method

Trainings that are fun and have a lasting learning effect - wishful thinking or feasible? Definitely feasible. The key to success is not so much the content as the appropriate methodology. In the following article I would like to present Escape Games as a training method. Escape Games guarantee the above mentioned combination of fun and effectiveness and have meanwhile become firmly established in the CONUFACTUR training design. 

 

What are Escape Games?

 

Escape Games or also Exit Games are interactive escape games that aim to solve a complex task in a given time. The special thing about these games is that, unlike case studies or business games, escape games are usually far removed from business topics and fascinate players with breathtaking storylines, room designs and props. It is always amazing how much creativity, imagination and attention to detail is shown by the game designers. If you have ever been in an Escape Room yourself, you know what I am talking about. In order to reach the goal, the players must solve numerous complex puzzles together and put them into context. The key to success, without exception, is always successful communication. Creativity, logical thinking, foresight, targeted handling of stress and above all team spirit are also required. 

 

Where exactly is the lasting learning effect?

 

I probably don't need to explain further that the fun is not neglected here. But how exactly do Escape Games promote a lasting learning effect? I would like to illustrate this question using the example of classic communication training. Depending on the position and company, I assume that most of you have already had to complete at least 1 communication training course in your professional career. Many of you (especially the managers) have most likely even gone through several of these trainings. From a trainer's perspective I can assure you that trainings in the field of communication and conflict are and remain the most sold and probably most important training topics. Nevertheless, some of you may find yourselves thinking: "Yes, communication is without question essential and it doesn't work completely smoothly in our company - but I don't need another training course for that. Active listening, constructive feedback, ego messages, Harvard principle - everything already heard, everything already understood". I even believe you and to be honest I can understand the (initial) lack of motivation that creeps in with many people when HR or the manager forces another communication training on you. The reason: Contents and models remain largely the same, you have understood them anyway and yet the effect of the training has usually fizzled out after a few weeks in everyday working life. 

 

Here is an example: I am sure that when I ask you if you have ever heard of Active Listening, at least 80% will answer this question with yes. And if I ask you at the same time whether you use active listening on a daily basis, this figure shrinks dramatically. What is the reason for this? Certainly not because you have not understood the technique or because you consider it pointless. It's because our communication is highly autonomous and changing our communication behaviour requires us to recognise existing patterns and our own impact as a first step. Only then does it make sense to add new conversation techniques (such as active listening). 

 

The key to success is therefore self-reflection. The recognition of one's own communication patterns, personal trigger points and blind spots. And there is hardly any other method as suitable for this as Escape Games. The participants immerse themselves completely in the game within minutes and forget their surroundings. There can be no knowledge advantage, after all, the topics are far away from daily business. And whether the participants really do communicate in an appreciative manner and ensure that everyone is at the same level of information will quickly become apparent in the game. Team dynamics and role assignments will become visible. Who leads, who holds back, who prefers to work alone, who instead works in a team? How do the participants deal with time pressure and how are successes celebrated? These and many more questions can all be evaluated together with the group after the game experience. In this way we move to a much deeper level of communication reflection and at the same time have strengthened the group dynamics and started the day with a fun factor. 

 

Escape games are versatile in the training context. Themes, puzzles & storyline have no limits. For the special wow-effect even the props can be branded to match the company and one or the other well-known name gets a role in the game against time. 

 

As CONUFACTURE we use Escape Games in the following two variants:

 

  1. The Escape Game stands as an event in the foreground. Conceivable for example as a targeted team development measure. The special feature here is the special framework. In the rooms of the Escape Room providers, the teams can not only escape from their daily work routine, but can literally dive into another world within a few minutes. 

  2. The Escape Game is integrated into the familiar training environment and is therefore a training method alongside the classics such as role-playing. So here we are talking about mobile games. Imagine participating in a communication training course on the premises of your company. You suspect nothing and after a short coffee break you find yourself in the middle of a complex puzzle game, which you have to solve within the next 45 minutes. 

 

What makes us Escape Game specialists? 

 

We at CONUFACTUR stand for only selling services that we can perform with absolute excellence. Our team includes strategy experts, trainers, psychologists and coaches. This makes us specialists in the field of training design and sustainable knowledge transfer - but not game designers. For this reason we cooperate with one of the most successful escape game providers in Munich (www.mystery-rooms.com). Mike Kleist and his team were among the first providers of this game fun in Germany and have significantly shaped the escape game scene in Germany. 

 

The combined know-how from both areas enables us to integrate Escape Games in a training context, which fulfill the well-known wow-factor as well as provide a long-term and intensive learning experience. 

 

Anja Sinz

Head of Learning & Programs Die CONUFACTUR

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