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Title: The power of nudging for virtual learning environments
Authors: Wernbacher, Thomas
Pfeiffer, Alexander
Kriglstein, Simone
Bezzina, Stephen
Keywords: Virtual reality
Virtual reality in education
Distance education
Economics -- Psychological aspects
Instructional systems
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: IATED
Citation: Wernbacher, T., Pfeiffer, A., Kriglstein, S., & Bezzina, S. (2020). The power of nudging for virtual learning environments. 12th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies. 0391-0394.
Abstract: The term nudge or nudging originally derives from the field of behavioural economics and describes a soft type of influence with the goal to elicit a certain behaviour. Thaler & Sunstein (1975) define nudging as a positive intervention that stimulates a voluntary change in behaviour without including external (negative) consequences. The idea of nudging has been booming in the USA for several years, while in Europe the concept of nudging remains largely unexplored. The focus is generally on the creation of politically motivated interventions and is particularly anchored in the field of health prevention (Quigley, 2013). Nudging in itself is based on motivational psychology models and shows parallels to the principle of gamification. Nudges can further be seen in a similar way to gamification, or as a relevant part of gamification, in the form of the game mechanics of achievements (Pfeiffer, 2018). However, in contrast to gamification, stimulus-response chains in the sense of incentives and penalties fade into the background and subtle strategies and positive interventions for decision optimization come to the fore. Nudging strategies have the potential to make behavioural alternatives appear more visible. For instance, in the area of physical activity, nudging can lead to the stairs becoming more attractive when compared to a lift (Hollands et al., 2013). Nudges also play a major role in (digital) game design, by for example guiding the player in the right direction or gently explaining why the player cannot choose a certain item. Furthermore, nudging can be a very effective element in the user experience design of apps by amongst others, making the user feel comfortable and ensuring that the app is used as intended (Pfeiffer, 2018). This paper aims to evaluate successful nudges from the world of games and apps and it is intended to inspire designers of virtual and blended learning systems to enhance the overall experience.
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