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When Digital Learning Becomes Sticky. Do Digital Escape Rooms and Hybrid Innovative Models work?

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

How to plan for innovative teaching after returning from home and the months of distance learning?
How can teaching stay relevant and sweep our students, at any age, into a profound process of growing knowledge, experience, and personal empowerment?
How to draw learning in attractive colors that are tempting to "taste"?

Since I started my career studying design at Bezalel, I draw inspiration from the field of branding, advertising, and marketing (which are often not linked to teaching, but why not actually?).

This post will take students' perspectives in digital media to discuss motivation in educational settings.

The term "learning that sticks" or "Sticky Learning" imply a learning situation of interest that captures students' attention and motivates them to deepen their understanding regardless of the effort needed.

Such motivated learning can lead to the assimilated learning experience that causes a loss of sense of time and place.

Did it happen to you?

It has happened to me more than once.

I must say that such learning is an empowering, challenging, sometimes frustrating experience, but if you keep going on a journey - "you reach wonderful places" (Dr. Suss).

I was seeking more, trying to recreate the experience, sharpening my senses, and searching for that moment again.

So how can teachers apply Sticky Learning and motivate their students instead of sticking to the traditional methods?

The practical experience I gained using sticky learning took place with my teammates- A group of mentors mediating the "Digital Literacy" skills to the teachers in Israel.

Our latest product - hybrid "ice cream" models that have demonstrated optimal hybrid lessons in a digital learning environment -

We mediated tools to easily plan a lesson that combines distance learning and face-to-face classroom meetings.

We used the metaphor of ice cream "flavors" to represent the different learning settings that compose hybrid learning. Every model had two flavors. We published them at the beginning of the covid-19 epidemics earlier this year.

If you are an Israeli teacher, you have probably met them over the past year more than once.

Following that line, I offer to deliver the idea of Sticky Learning to elevate students' motivation.

We will start by agreeing that the learning process is an active process driven by the student.

I consider instruction a mentoring process.

I focus on learner's characteristics, skills, and preferences while helping them achieve measurable goals in the learning process.

When I write "the goals of the learner" - maybe this is a new thing-

I am referring to a concept that the OECD has been promoting in recent years called agency.

(Agency = the learner acts, shapes reality, and makes decisions independently, instead of being activated and shaped by the decisions of others). This person is highly motivated and leading the learning process.

We became used to meet media-rich information, fast-paced interactions with our colleagues via a multi-social network (Instagram, ticketing, network games, and YouTube), flooded with information in quantities that the human brain cannot grasp.

Digital devices aggressively attack our senses 24/7.

There are many ways a person can react to this stimuli attack.

As for myself- I put my cell phone to silent mode (I have no idea what sounds my cell phone makes). Practicing yoga in the morning became another way to get control over my day.

I also react by exploring new ideas in contemporary education. I invite you to read about these new ideas in my previous post that discussed slowing versus accelerating education.

There are several approaches to get "stickiness" in the field of advertising and marketing.

We may not be able to adapt them all to the field of education, but I would recommend adopting some of them in your school context.

1. Tell a short, visual, and clear story*

*You can also tell a story through an escape room ...

A good lesson plan can mediate content and assignments via storytelling (real or imagined).

For example - Teacher Taylor Dwight taught about viruses through a cartoon detective story. I found it inspiring to watch how this mediation engaged his 'Generation Z' students.

It is also possible to build a learning space that is all built on a story. Such a space was invented outside schools by people for the entertainment industry.

Many learning spaces include images from stories. But for the most part, they do not constitute a single narrative sequence within which the learner can assimilate.

In contrast, the learning spaces common in students' leisure time and are called "escape rooms" are generation Z learning spaces. Participants are assimilated and experience something that makes them invest a special effort in learning.

Recently, research connected narrative spaces and motivation. These learning spaces reduced extensively the need to address "discipline" and constitute "sticky learning."

Do not believe me? Read this article here- Teaching within a Story: Understanding storification of pedagogy

Many schools now have escape rooms. Sometimes students build the escape rooms for the students in the corresponding class as part of a learning task.

And there are also Digital Escape Rooms. These have become very popular in long-distance learning this year.

2. Play together (Fun games).

In my undergraduate studies at Bezalel, we participated in a course called - Games.

The task was to design a game (What else?).

Many of us designers are in a constant play mode when we create.

Playing games preserves creative ability. And who doesn't want to promote creativity today?

For more information - read the post I wrote about promoting creativity during classroom instruction.

Children play together, and within this play mode, teachers can incorporate many learning objectives.

The benefit of learning in a play mode has been known for many years. In addition, this form is undoubtedly promoting sticky learning (and motivation to invest more effort in a task).

A big challenge for us teachers is to design games and play mode environments.

But, in the digital age - it's a much easier matter.

To meet teachers' need for a good example, my team and I delivered a hybrid model of a digital escape room based on a digital form. We called it the "ice cream model" for escape games using advertising methods that captured teachers' attention.

The model includes ready-made digital escape games and guidelines for making escape games with digital tools suitable for all ages.

So teachers can mediate these games in their classrooms. This instruction type meets Z generation students' expectations of a learning setting (playful and collaborative).

These digital games are suitable to mediate simple skills and developing more complex abilities, which require a lot of effort, practice, and knowledge development.

Lessons can be framed in a playful (sticky) learning setting and promote game goals and learning objectives.

Such a digital environment is, for example - "classcraft" - watch the video to get an idea of ​​this environment in learning that attracts older students' (junior high) participation, motivation, and interest.

3. Use more visual content

The commercials are very visual- They communicate meaning using visual language. Both the billboards and the videos flood us with graphical images while surfing the net, watching TV, and even at intersections while standing at a traffic light.

Another thing they do - they repeat - over and over and over again.

Visual information is perceived very effectively in the human brain.

Connecting the visual information with a melody is even more successful in grabbing our attention, being processed (in the short memory), and moving to storage in the long-term memory.

Learning through videos and visual information has been proven in many studies to be very effective and has also been an excellent way to motivate our students.

Most of my site focuses on visual mediation. You and you are welcome to dig in it as you wish.

Researchers found that students of all ages also process information and remain on the task if it asks them to produce a visual product that represents their learning.


The digital tools and vast databases available to educators today make it much simpler and more accessible.

So how do we ignite the fire of entrepreneurship and agency in our students?
Is it applicable? Every day? In every school setting?


I think storytelling, playing games, and visualization make it possible to apply Sticky Learning.

Given that our pedagogy respects the learner, their uniqueness, and the processes of learning,

Allows him to pave their unique path and constantly encourages progress.

I invite you to subscribe to the site forum now and join me for a thought-provoking discussion.

Good luck, 21st-century teachers.

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