Author: Manasi Mehendale

Posted On Jul 15, 2022   |  

Learning can play several roles – in improving morale and productivity, encouraging collaboration, as well as creating meaningful interactions in the organization for an employee – all along with gaining knowledge. Workplaces too are looking to accommodate the changing needs of employees, enabling them to learn in a format they prefer. On that note, a gentle push, i.e., a nudge, telling the learners of a knowledge possibility can become the foundation of a great workplace learning program. Nudge-Learning can simplify retaining knowledge and deliver big returns, thus increasing the impact of the learning.

How does nudge learning play its part?

The nudge theory proposes that by shaping an environment through positive reinforcement and indirect suggestion, one can influence the behavior and decision-making of an individual. In digital learning, nudges are messages and nuggets that make learners aware of the learning resources available to them. These nudges can be personalized based on the learner’s profile and learning needs.

Learners today have a very short attention span. As a result, their learning needs to be reinforced at regular intervals for longer knowledge retention. The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve is a good memory model to learn more about this. It shows that close to 60% of the knowledge is lost in less than an hour of learning it.

One of the key reasons for this occurrence is the lack of reinforcement. The curve shows how quickly we forget information over time if we do not attempt to retain it. To counter this, L&D professionals need to consider nudging learners periodically with reinforcement training material to improve knowledge retention.

Best practices for creating and delivering nudges

Here are some of the best practices to get started with nudge-learning:

1. Use short, crisp, micro-content such as videos, infographics, and short modules from existing eLearning courses as nudges. These need to be visually interesting and delivered in a timely manner for reinforcing information.

2. Curate content from the ones easily available on the web such as TED Talk videos, YouTube videos, articles, and infographics. Content curation would make a larger library of content quickly available to the employees based on their existing needs.

3. Connect the nudges with an end goal. Google’s well-known “whisper courses” were all about nudging the managers with bite-sized content to foster a psychologically safe team culture. That said, nudges work as short refreshers. They need to be able to answer specific questions when required by the learners.

4. Use the right system to deliver nudges. One needs a system more than a traditional LMS to deliver nudges. LMS has traditionally been used to manage and deliver courses across the board. However, a nudge-learning platform can address learning personalization by better understanding and acting on the learner’s behavior and learning needs. Such platforms observe individual learning patterns, identify skill gaps, and accordingly push nudges based on individual performance.

How is nudge-learning delivered?

Personalized nudge learning can be delivered in various ways based on the organization’s preferences. Typically, these are the three popular formats:

  • Mobile apps which can nudge learners depending on their individual preferences
  • Learning chatbots that act as digital personal trainers
  • Emails or other collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and Slack

How is nudge-learning delivered?

As the learner performs certain actions within the nudge-learning application, such as reading an article, watching a video, or taking a short module, the system observes the learner’s patterns and tracks data.

For example, to study ‘presentation styles’, a learner may be learning by watching videos on the different presentation styles. Once the learner has learned about presentation styles, the nudge-learning system delivers key points or takeaways from the topic of ‘presentation styles’ at a set frequency. With the help of these nudges, the learner remembers the main points for a longer time.

Nudge learning is effective for not only retaining what a learner has already learned but also what a learner wishes to learn. Depending on the learner’s persona and the skill one is looking to acquire, the nudge-learning system can pick the right nudges based on curated content and meta tags and nudge the learner to learn that particular skill over a period of time.

Such recommendations are possible due to:

  • A detailed competency map based on the role of the learner in the organization
  • A large library of curated content based on the skills required
  • A large library of microlearning nuggets mapped to the competencies that can track the learner’s actions and can be nudged regularly based on the learner’s performance

There’s more that nudge-learning can achieve. According to a LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, 35% of L&D professionals are looking for new ways to boost learner engagement. Imagine the role nudge-learning can play in gently influencing employee behavior towards a positive, skill-supported function.

Culture Amp, the employee experience platform, uses this technique for its employee feedback process. The company’s platform administrators notify all managers when their reports are ready to be viewed. Those managers who do not open their results report within one week of being notified are sent automatic nudges of their report access.

Nudge-learning for impactful eLearning

As mentioned earlier, nudge learning focuses on positive reinforcement to guide an employee’s learning skills. It encourages them to make purposeful choices, in the form of subtle interventions, thus engaging them in the learning process.

Harbinger has extensive experience in creating micro-learning nuggets for anywhere, anytime learning. We have helped many organizations implement nudge learning and help organizations achieve business objectives by making learning effective.

Our nudge-learning-friendly instructional design approach helps curate the optimum amount of information available and creates bursts that can be consumed just in time.

Harbinger has also developed the nudge-learning platform SprinkleZone to help organizations deliver nudges of knowledge. With spaced nudges, learners can receive personalized reinforcements at specific intervals. This helps them overcome the challenge of the knowledge-forgetting curve.

If you have any questions on nudge-learning, and how you can implement it in your organization, feel free to write to us at Our eLearning experts will be happy to help you.