Contributed by:


Intended Learning Outcome:

To add resources to tutor toolkit for nudging students


This isn’t a teaching and learning activity, it is a list of nudges you may find useful to use with students.



Ask students for the easiest way for them to receive notifications from you – this may be setting up a module Instagram account, a Whatsapp group etc. This way you know students are receiving your communications (many students don’t access email accounts).


People will tend to take the easiest path. For example, most people aren’t organ donors because they have to opt-in to become one. The UK government is changing the default and people who are opposed to the scheme will have to opt-out. We can use this in class by enlisting students onto tutorial lists, band lists etc. which they have to opt-out of. With appropriate reminders, students are more likely to take up tutorials. Make note-taking in class essential by not having fact-heavy slides students can retrieve on the VLE. Do this as a default from the first session so that students are more likely to attend and engage. Sessions that are relevant, practical and enjoyable as well as crucial to learning will have better engagement.


Record previous students talking about their tips and wisdom on how to achieve Module Mastery and get the most from the Module. Play it to current students and discuss.


Writing a personalised communication has been shown to have a better response from recipients than a blanket message. Don’t forget WIIFM – What’s In It For Me? Describe how the sessions are relevant and key to the student’s learning.


When you want students to have a choice but hope to guide them to make a positive decision (this is sometimes called benevolent paternalism) give them 3 options. We are most likely to go for a middle option because of our biases. For example: shall we start practising for this performance 1, 2 or 3 months before? This is also called the Goldilocks Principle.


Send students information about what is on the VLE at crucial study points. For example, leading up to a written assignment you may want to signpost where the EBSCO reading materials are, the BIMM Harvard Reference guide and Module materials.


As well as displaying the ILOs for the session on the board you could add a motivational phrase appropriate to the session. E.g. “The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake – you can’t learn anything from being perfect.” Adam Osborne. @Musostudy posts motivational quotes on Instagram.


Involve students in the design and resourcing of the VLE and ask them what they would like it to contain and make suggestions for how you can all interact with it. This way students are more likely to use the VLE in their learning as they have co-created it with you and will have more of a sense of ownership. Being more involved in its construction can also nudge them into using it more because they don’t want to let down others in the group who have invested time in it.



Large Group Teaching:

Online Teaching:


Next Steps:

Links to other activities:

Further reading:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *