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Getting Started with Nudges and Choice Architecture

There may not be an area of behavioral science that I am more in enthralled by than “nudges” and “choice architecture” so I couldn’t be happier to share my passion with you!

In brief, these concepts address how humans are unrelentingly irrational. As a result, our choices are often neither rational or constructive – worse yet, our everyday choices are usually just the opposite. We struggle to balance long-term and short-term benefits and risks, we are more in tune with negatives than positives when reflecting and more in tune with positives than negatives when forecasting…and this undermines our lives, moods, and careers more so than just about any other element of ‘being human’….The research behind these statements has been masterfully summarized and explored in the following works:

To help construct a practical value proposition – this NY Times article from 2013 is a great place to start: Britain’s Ministry of Nudges 

And, just to end with one, more analytical perspective – check out the work of Stanford professor BJ Fogg…I love this simplification so much I have considered it as a potential tattoo 😉

BJ Fogg Behavior Model Grapic

I love Dr. Fogg’s work because of how simple he has connected decades of research into Behavioral economics (Motivation), Adult Learning (Ability), Nudge Theory (Triggers)…B = M x A x T!

As you explore this work, it might become increasingly obvious where my ideas around learning models and instructional design are grounded 😉

I’d love to discuss this in depth, if you have any questions!

Brian S McGowan, PhD

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Brian is a research scientist and educational technologist. He helped transform Pfizer’s Medical Education Group and previously served in educational leadership roles at HealthAnswers, Inc.; Acumentis, LLC.; Cephalon; and Wyeth. He taught graduate medical education programs at Arcadia University for 10 years. Dr. McGowan recently authored the book "#socialQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare" and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject of information flow, technology, and learning in healthcare.

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