The Effectiveness of Digital Escape Rooms to Deliver Leadership Training: A Mixed-Methods Study

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (EdD)

Committee Chair

Yi Yang

Committee Member

Dawn Snyder

Committee Member

Yuerong Sweetland


Escape room games have emerged in the educational landscape over the last decade and are growing in popularity. Studies show that participants enjoy educational escape room games, however the data to demonstrate learning acquisition and behavior change is limited. This study addressed the research question: How effective are escape room games as a leadership training activity? The researcher developed The Leadership Escape Game, a digital game, where participants explored the online space and solved puzzles and challenges to learn the SLII® leadership model (used with permission from the Ken Blanchard Companies). Effectiveness of the game was measured using the first three levels of the New World Kirkpatrick Model. Participants completed a learner satisfaction survey immediately after playing The Leadership Escape Game. The Leader Behavior Analysis II® (LBA II) was used as a pre-test, post-test, and 30-day post-test to measure learning acquisition. The LBAII® calculated Leadership Style Flexibility and Effectiveness scores that demonstrated understanding of the model with a scenario-based multiple-choice assessment. Behavior change was assessed using participant interviews at least 30 days following the game. Results demonstrated that a digital escape room game is an effective way to deliver leadership training. Learner satisfaction results presented statistically significant and positive ratings about participation in The Leadership Escape Game. Leadership Style Flexibility and Effectiveness results across the three assessments demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in scores following the game. 30-day post-game interviews also presented evidence that participants applied what they learned with their employees. Additional analysis determined that previous experience with escape rooms or the leadership content were not pre-requisites to success in The Leadership Escape Game.