A serious game approach for lake modeling and management: The EscapeBLOOM

Dianneke van Wijk*, Xiangzhen Kong*, Harmen Knap, Annette B.G. Janssen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Environmental models are valuable tools, yet, communication about model procedures and results between modelers and non-modelers is complicated by different levels of understanding. Game design may help to bridge this gap through learning by playing. Here we present the “EscapeBLOOM”, a digital “Escape Room” in which teams aim to save a lake from a harmful algal bloom while learning about lake models. The game consists of multiple puzzles reflecting the process and choices made by professional modelers in a specific lake management case. We show that the EscapeBLOOM has been positively received in multiple countries and cultures, and significantly contributed to perceived learning on lake modeling and nutrient management by non-modelers. Finally, we discuss the challenges and opportunities of our serious game to introduce models and related concepts. We envision that our serious game approach can inspire others to create their own “Escape-game” to aid the communication of environmental modeling cases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105941
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • Education
  • Lake modeling
  • Science communication
  • Tool
  • Water quality management


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