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12-05-2021

Nudge for Learning Series Part 5 of 5:

Applying Behavioral Science to Digital Training: A Case Study

After my book ‘Nudge et autres coups de pouce pour mieux apprendre’ was published during the Covid-19 pandemic, many of my former colleagues (who are professors in educational institutions) asked me the same question:  How can I engage students in a course taught entirely via Zoom (or Microsoft Teams or another program)?

My answer to them was simple:  Do not replicate the course you were doing in a classroom via Zoom. Switching from an in-person to a virtual course is not just a question of sharing your slides within a video conference.  The course must be designed to be facilitated online.

And this is exactly what I’ve done myself:

  • First, instead of using my familiar PowerPoint, I leveraged a Learning Management System to build an appropriate digital path (employing several Behavioral Science learnings).
  • Second, I used a dedicated software package to integrate test-enhanced learning.
  • And third, I integrated a collaborative platform to encourage active engagement, rather than passive listening. 

And of course, I applied many of the principles shared in this article in building BE Wiser, a program to help organizations learn and apply Behavioral Science:

_distributive learning:

The format changes from 3 days of in-person training (7 hours a day) to 16 weeks of training (only 1 hour 30 minutes per week).

_flipped classroom:

Students commence the course individually at home (with self-guided videos) and then do exercises with others at school (during bi-weekly interactive sessions with coaches/trainers, aided by collaborative platforms, such as Miro and Klaxoon). This flips the traditional model, in which most teachers focus on presenting the material in school (via lectures). 

_test enhanced learning:

After each learning session, there are brief, ungraded quizzes, to help people learn, and retain knowledge.  The only evaluative quiz comes at the very end of the training, as part of the certification 

_personalization:

Thanks to digital technology, quizzes are personalized based on answers. So the more errors a person makes, the more a quiz is repeated (in context).

_repetition:

Each quiz is also repeated a minimum number of times during the full training cycle. Repetitions are spaced over time to help ensure retention. 

_follow up:

When the course and classrooms end, the Coaching & Application sessions begin. These bi-monthly sessions help people apply learning to their jobs and create or reinforce new habits. 


This article is inspired by the book: ‘Nudge et autres coups de pouce pour mieux apprendre’,written by the author and published in French, Pearson éd. 2020.

Request the B.E. Wiser Syllabus now to learn how to embed the power of Behavioral Science in your company today.

Questions? Comments? Email us: etienne.bressoud@bvanudgeunit.com

Etienne Bressoud

Deputy CEO, BVA Nudge Unit

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