Nudge theory and Sparks

August 17, 2019 - Dave Tosh

At Sparks our mission is to explore automation, analytics and personalization to enhance the overall learning experience.

One way Sparks does this is through a series of careful constructed "nudges" which are delivered as and when needed. These could be in the form of emails, sms, or in-app messaging. The idea being, relevant content and/or messaging delivered at the right time will have a positive impact on someones learning experience.

So, where does Nudge theory come in? Well, nudges work if they are relevant and timely without becoming overbearing. Over time, our nudges grow increasingly aware of the timing, messaging and relevancy that will help users get the most out of them. This approach is supported by decades of academic research, and the Nobel Prize-winning insights of Professor Richard Thaler.

As powerful as using data is, we want to capture the user opinion at each point, so, have introduced a feedback loop to help Sparks become smarter around what is working for each individual. Users can flag "nudges" as helpful or not. This might sound like a simple metric but this is the type of data that helps machine learning work out if something is worthwhile for individuals or not.

Further reading on nudge theory.

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