Digital Escape Games in Educational Programs for Financial Literacy
Keywords:escape games, museum studies, financial literacy, collaboration, learning, game-based learning
Escape from the Castle is a digital escape game created with the collaboration of the Museum of Saving in Turin (Italy), Neuroscience Lab Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, and the GAME Science Research Center of IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca. In the escape game, players must help Mica, the mascot of the Museum, to run away from the Ghost of the Baroness, from its Castle. To do that, every player has to solve four puzzles in four different rooms. Each room is correlated to a financial issue, such as saving strategies and planning. The game aims to increase the awareness that money represents a means for achieving a purpose (i.e., use value of money) and not an end, from a behavioural and neuroscientific point of view. So we built a study about the behaviour of teenagers. According to the literature, the cooperative approach proposes emotional and cognitive involvement as a tool to strengthen learning, increases awareness of self-efficacy and, when applied to money management, increases the self-perception of being able to make consumption choices. To better understand the mechanisms of cooperation, we built an experiment with 118 students from eleven to fourteen years old, that played the game during a visit to the Museum. We divided students into two groups: one in which students could collaborate with each other in solving the puzzles (treatment) and one in which they had to play individually (control), and we collected score and time of play (behavioural data). In each group, two students wore eye-trackers to record pupil dilation to collect neurophysiological data. Here we present mainly the behavioural results that show that the students who were allowed to collaborate obtained, on average, double the score compared to those who played individually. Furthermore, those who collaborated finished the game in less time than those who have not played as a group. Moreover, combining behavioural data with neurophysiological data, there are indications that high pupil dilation is correlated with high engagement in play, and this is often true in collaborating groups.