Improving student outcomes using advice-giving as a motivational nudge

Last registered on April 15, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

Improving student outcomes using advice-giving as a motivational nudge
Initial registration date
April 01, 2020
Last updated
April 15, 2020, 3:01 AM EDT



Primary Investigator

Monash University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Monash University
PI Affiliation
Monash University

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
How can we motivate individuals to optimise behaviours without needing to rely on external information, stimuli and incentives? Recent literature finds that advice-giving, by enabling individuals to give instead of receive, can be one such approach to increase motivation. We will conduct a field experiment to further investigate the relationship between advice giving and advisor outcomes, by exploring the effect of relaying feedback to advisors’ on advisors’ academic outcomes. In a randomised controlled trial, we will assign 628 undergraduate students to a control condition, or an advice-giving condition. Treatment participants will then be further assigned into a feedback or no feedback condition. We will first investigate whether students in the advice-giving condition will perform better in academic assessments following treatment. We will then evaluate whether students in the feedback condition will score higher than students with whom no feedback is shared. Finally, we will also assess the impact of the advice-giving intervention on levels of grit and confidence in students. Findings from our research could be used to implement advice giving as a zero-cost nudge to improve students’ grades, particularly in schools in developing countries that lack sufficient funds to carry out expensive interventions to see increases in their students’ academic performance.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Bhura, Sumaiya , Grace Hooi Yean Lee and Sharon Koh. 2020. "Improving student outcomes using advice-giving as a motivational nudge." AEA RCT Registry. April 15.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Students’ End-of-Semester Final Grades; Students in-semester assessment grades; Grit; Confidence levels; Motivation
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Our design consists of two treatment groups and one control group. Both treatment groups advise younger students on how to study online during the COVID-19 lockdown period. Halfway along the semester, one treatment group receives feedback on the advice given, while the other treatment gets no feedback.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was done by a computer, at the tutorial level. Students were randomly allocated to different tutorial sessions at the beginning of the semester. We randomly assigned each tutorial session to either a control condition, or an advice-giving condition. Participants in the advice giving condition were then further randomly assigned into a feedback or no feedback condition.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Approximately 650 students
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 650 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Control: 211 students
Treatment 1: Feedback: 221 students
Treatment 2: No Feedback: 213 students
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials