Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Associate Professor Erik Champion

Main Campus
City West

Applications Close
02 Feb 2023

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate or International Candidate

Tuition Fees:
All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. International students who receive a stipend are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
No project stipend available

About this project

Improve learning outcomes with escape room concepts

Are you passionate about a career in education and keen to explore the creative boundaries of learning, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a unique project-based PhD in the UniSA Creative Unit, in consultation with MOD.

Escape rooms are a natural learning environment which are being increasingly considered to educate students by incorporating puzzle elements that decode verbs, decipher maths problems, and solve science conundrums.

The project will investigate and design learning kits for museums, communities, and classrooms to create an escape room environment. The kits can be physical or hybrid by incorporating gamified technology to help students learn.

With scientific or historical content, the kit will provide resources and interaction strategies to help budding escape room designers design escape rooms for others, and in doing so learn for themselves how to create tricky interaction puzzles, quizzes and physical riddles based on principles in science, mathematics or history.

The project aims to address the challenge of creating an experience that is engaging but focused on learning principles instead of exclusively on the end user experience.

You will be housed in the UniSA Creative Unit where you will learn from our award-winning researchers specialising in game design and experience. You will have access the Australian Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments researchers and technology to incorporate VR and AR experiences in the evaluation of escape room designs. You will also work closely with MOD, Australia's leading future-focused museum, provoking new ideas at the intersection of science, art and innovation.

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will investigate and design learning kits for museums and communities and small classes to create escape rooms (physical or hybrid or via a game engine) to help students develop their own learning by designing escape rooms for others. 

You will ideally consult with MOD staff and deploy VR and AR technology from the Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments as well as run and evaluate escape room design workshops. The instructions will be either through virtual examples via a game engine or game engine exporting to VR, or via online instruction videos using the latest instructional video expertise. 

You are expected to interview domain experts on the results and how they can be applied in an Australian content and produce a feasibility study and an experimental design evaluating engagement and pedagogical efficiency. An ARC grant will be sought to support and extend the research and an edited book of the educational resources and learning strategies recommended will be made available, ideally freely online.

Upon completion, you will have experience with board game, physical escape room, digital game or VR escape room design. 

We will endeavour to support you to attend workshops or conferences where required.

Where you’ll be based

You will be based within the UniSA Creative Unit, incorporating the South Australian School of Art, which brings together the disciplines of architecture, planning, art and design, journalism, communication and media, film and television and the creative industries to produce flexible graduates with multidisciplinary capabilities.

Creativity is at our core. Students learn by doing, crafting in specialist studios, constructing in purpose-built production facilities, always working with the latest technology.

Our research explores the complexities of the world around us. We engage in future-focused, cross-disciplinary research and consultancy to produce inspired solutions that are human-centred and sustainable.  

UniSA provides a platform for emerging and established creatives in its three major galleries. Visit the Samstag Museum, SASA Gallery or MOD. to see interactive exhibitions and contemporary works by artists, researchers, storytellers and designers, both local and international.  

We’re a catalyst for brilliance. A place where you can think critically and creatively, glimpse the future and engage with true originals. The creative economy isn’t slowing down, and neither should you.

Supervisory Team

Financial Support

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses but there is no stipend available. A tuition fee waiver for the standard term of the program is available to Australian and New Zealand citizens, and permanent residents of Australia, including permanent humanitarian visa holders. Additionally, any Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicant who holds an offer of admission without a living allowance will be eligible for the Aboriginal Enterprise Research Scholarship. This scholarship is to the value of $46,653 per annum (2023 rates). Any Aboriginal Enterprise Research Scholarship recipient will also receive a fee waiver. Where an international applicant holds an external scholarship or sponsorship a full or partial fee waiver may apply in some circumstances for exceptional applicants. Other international applicants will be required to pay full tuition fees of approximately AUD$34,300 per annum (2023 rates).  

Eligibility and Selection

This project is open to applications from both domestic and international applicants. Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. 

Applicants should also submit a full research proposal (approximately 2500 words) that has been developed in consultation with the proposed principal supervisor. A template to help guide this application is available here.

Additionally, applicants must meet the projects selection criteria: 
  • Experience in game design (design, programming)
Applicants who can also demonstrate the following will be highly regarded:
  • Experience in evaluation/HCI methods
  • Interest in escape room play and design
  • Interest in participatory design methods
All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate.

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time and be based at our City West campus in the heart of Adelaide.

Essential Dates

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer. Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close on Thursday 2 February 2023. 

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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