The Power of the Nudge: Technology Driving Persistence
Providing timely nudges to students has been shown to improve engagement and persistence in tertiary education. However, many studies focus on small-scale pilots rather than institution-wide initiatives. This article assesses the impact of a pan-institution Early Alert System at the University of Canterbury that utilises nudging when students are at risk of disengagement. Once flagged, students received an automated text message and email encouraging re-engagement with the learning management system. Students who received the nudge re-engaged at a higher rate and spent more time engaging with online material. These benefits were sustained over two weeks, demonstrating a measurable benefit over time. Unexpectedly, the nudge resulted in persistence and engagement in other enrolled courses where a nudge was not provided, showing the transferability of benefits to other courses. Although no significant differences in GPA were found between test and control groups, future development will enable further research.