Home > Teaching & Learning > The Power of the Nudge

The Power of the Nudge

By Scott Jaschik

Everyone needs to be pestered sometimes. A new study suggests that college students may be among those who most need to be nudged to stay on track.

The study was a large-scale randomized analysis of the impact of a commercial service that provides individualized coaching to students on time management, academic goals and other subjects. The coaches call regularly and try in particular to link students’ life goals with their academic goals — and to use the former to motivate progress on the latter.

The study — by Eric P. Bettinger, an associate professor of education, and Rachel Baker, a doctoral student, both of Stanford University — found that the services had a statistically significant impact on student persistence. The impact was greater for men than for women — a potentially important finding, given the lower enrollment and graduation rates of men at many institutions.

The research was conducted on the services offered by InsideTrack, the largest such coaching service in the United States. While InsideTrack encouraged the study and its client colleges and universities cooperated with the research, the Stanford scholars were not paid by, nor was the study financed by, the company. The findings are being released today by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Continued at: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/03/10/study_finds_value_in_coaching_college_students_
on_academic_and_life_issues

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