School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Michael Shenkle


nudge communication, intervention, persistence, growth mindset, fixed mindset, retention


Education | Higher Education


This quantitative causal-comparative study focuses on nudge communication and its impact within online higher education. Due to prior studies confirming the relationship between motivation and persistence, this study focuses on whether or not nudge communication, or intentional interventions that include reminders, encouragement, and other motivational factors, helps students persist toward successful completion of courses within a semester. This study included over 10,000 undergraduate students at a private institution that offers online education. The students were enrolled in over 98,600 general education courses, which were included in the analysis of the test and control populations. Successful course completion was defined as students earning grades of A, B, C, and D. Unsuccessful course completion was defined as students earning grades of F, FN, and W. The results of the study found that students who received nudge communication persisted more in successful completion of grades during a semester and their grade point averages were significantly higher than those who did not receive nudge communication. Additional research is needed to determine if nudge communication is beneficial in residential settings, graduate settings, and specific course settings, rather than just general education in online undergraduate education.