The Nudging 360° project benefits from the knowledge, resources, and experience of two Higher Education Institutes, two marketing companies, and a quality assurance body.
The two Higher Education Institutes, University of Camerino and University of Barcelona, are essential because they are uniquely able to implement the Work Packages internally, provide first-hand knowledge and insight on digital skills needed by Higher Educators at their institutions or in their networks, and for establishing the ethics council. The networks these partners bring are also essential for disseminating the project’s results.
Trendhuis’ background in marketing is key for effectively designing the project’s branding and for coordinating dissemination and promotion efforts. Momentum Marketing Services Limited and ACEEU also have experience working in dissemination and promotion efforts, as well as marketing (MMS) and quality assurance (ACEEU).
What is nudging?
Nudging is a concept in behavioral economics and psychology that refers to the use of subtle, non-coercive interventions to influence the choices and behaviors of individuals or groups. The goal of nudging is to steer people towards making better decisions without limiting their freedom of choice. A nudge can take many forms, such as changing the way information is presented, altering the default option, or creating social norms. For example, placing healthy food options at eye level in a cafeteria can nudge people towards making healthier choices, while setting a default option for organ donation can nudge people towards being more likely to donate.
Nudging has gained popularity in recent years as a tool for policymakers and marketers, who aim to influence behavior in a way that is beneficial for individuals and society as a whole. Nudging can be a powerful tool when used appropriately, but it also raises ethical questions about the limits of manipulation in shaping individual choices.
Why use digital nudging?
Digital nudging is the practice of using digital interfaces, such as websites, apps, or other online platforms, to influence people’s behavior in a positive way. It involves using small design features or interventions, such as default settings, framing, social proof, or feedback, to guide users towards a desired action or choice. For example, a website may use a default option to encourage users to sign up for a newsletter, or show social proof to encourage users to buy a product.
Digital nudging is based on the principles of behavioral economics and psychology, which suggest that people often make decisions based on cognitive biases and heuristics, rather than rational analysis. By understanding these biases and heuristics, digital nudging can help overcome them and lead people towards more desirable outcomes.
However, digital nudging has also raised concerns about privacy, transparency, and the ethics of using digital interfaces to influence people’s behavior without their explicit consent or awareness. It is important to ensure that digital nudges are transparent, respectful, and aligned with people’s values and preferences.
How did we start?
After an online introduction in which mutual expectations were shared, all partners started extensive and intensive desk research. They looked for good practices, inspiring examples and proven effects. The results were shared in a face to face meeting in Mechelen (Belgium) on the 17th and 18th of January 2023.
The next phase consists of six in-depth interviews that each partner conducts with education experts and IT specialists that are familiar with digital nudging. Then we plan a questionnaire in which we ask students about their nudging behavior.
At a next meeting at the end of April, we summarize the obtained results and specify the planned work packages.
Nudging 360 addresses the digital transformation in Higher Education by using nudging and self-nudging to enhance HE educators’ digital competencies. Since nudging has not been used to motivate educators on such a large scale, it represents a new and innovative practice for improving teaching skills.
Further, by motivating educators to improve their digital skills, this project will contribute to the digital readiness and capacity of the Higher Instititute Administrators for which they work. A final objective that will be achieved after the project is successfully implemented in its entirety is, due to the improved digital skills of the Educators, their students will be more engaged in digital learning.