Reviewing Two Years of Nudge: Does it Work?

Nudge is a tool Learning Innovation is piloting that sends short quiz questions to students to reinforce concepts covered in class. Over the past two years several instructors have tried Nudge with their classes. 

Last fall, Karen Murphy used Nudge with her students in Neuro 101: Biological Bases of Behavior, and shared anonymized class data with Kim Manturuk, a member of the Learning Innovation team and Associate Director of Research, Evaluation, and Development. This data allowed Manturuk to analyze the effectiveness of Nudge in Murphy’s class. 

Manturuk’s analysis produced the following chart, which shows the distribution of the students’ final grades.

Chart of Neuro 101 final grade distributions shows two curves, one for a control and one for the group that used Nudge.

Final Grade Distribution

This chart suggests that Nudge participants tended to receive better grades than non-participants. However, it raises the question—could there be a correlation between Nudge participation and other factors associated with final grades, such as student motivation? 

Manturuk reviewed the students’ final course grades, and used other indicators, including cumulative GPAs and standardized pre-college math test scores (ACT/SAT), to control for bias. A regression model was used, with this bias control, to estimate the relationship between Nudge and final course grades. The model’s results indicate that participating in Nudge was associated with a 1.43 percent higher final course grade.* 

While this is just one analysis of one class’s experience with Nudge, Learning Innovation found it promising. Nudge will continue to be offered to a growing number of instructors in the Fall 2019 semester, and we hope some will share similar course data to help us increase our understanding of the tool’s effectiveness. 

If you are interested in trying Nudge this fall, please fill out this form. Participants will receive a free Nudge t-shirt and the chance of improved student scores!

*Manturuk provides a more extensive description of the analytical methods and results of this study in her white paper, available upon request.