Saturday, June 22, 2024

Behavioral Economics in Higher Education: A Comprehensive Scoping Review

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In the evolving landscape of higher education, the integration of behavioral economics offers innovative approaches to guide student decisions and enhance educational outcomes. This integrative scoping review sheds light on how the principles of behavioral economics, particularly nudging, are being leveraged to subtly influence and improve various educational processes. By examining 89 studies, the review provides a broad overview of how different behavioral economics interventions have been applied and their potential impacts, especially within pharmacy education.

Principles and Applications

The review reveals that reminders and prompts are the most commonly employed behavioral economics principles in higher education settings, often yielding positive results in areas such as enrollment management. Additionally, techniques like framing, incentives, and salience have been shown to be effective, though their success varies based on specific contexts. On the other hand, social norms and simplification principles have produced mixed outcomes, indicating a need for careful consideration of contextual factors when implementing these strategies.

Other principles such as priming, loss aversion, feedback, comparison, and commitment have demonstrated varying degrees of success in influencing student behavior. These findings highlight the diverse applications and impacts of behavioral economics across different educational scenarios and underscore the importance of tailoring interventions to specific educational contexts.

Implications for Pharmacy Education

The insights gained from this review are particularly relevant for pharmacy education, where behavioral economics principles can be harnessed to improve student engagement, streamline enrollment processes, and support health and well-being initiatives. The review emphasizes the potential for these principles to create a more effective and supportive educational environment, while also acknowledging the necessity of context-specific design and careful implementation.

Key Inferences for Practitioners

– Utilize reminders and prompts to enhance student participation and manage enrollment efficiently.
– Apply framing and incentives judiciously to maximize their positive effects on student decisions.
– Consider the specific educational context when implementing social norms and simplification strategies to avoid mixed outcomes.
– Leverage feedback and comparison techniques to foster a competitive yet supportive learning environment.
– Incorporate commitment devices to improve student follow-through on educational tasks and goals.

Overall, the review underscores the valuable role of behavioral economics in higher education and highlights numerous opportunities for future research, particularly in the realm of pharmacy education. By continuing to explore and refine these interventions, educators can better support students and enhance educational outcomes.

Original Article: Am J Pharm Educ. 2024 Jun 7:100732. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpe.2024.100732. Online ahead of print.

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