Text-Messaging and Incentives: Motivational Tools

Kimberly Jordan
College of Nursing, University of South Alabama

Motivation is key in learning. Motivation leads to engagement and promotes student success. Motivating students can be a challenge. For nursing students, waking up at 5:00a.m. to be at the clinical setting to care for patients can really affect motivation. How can we motivate their minds so early? The popularity of text-messaging is enormous among students. Incentives also play an integral part in motivating students. Why not use text-messaging coupled with an incentive to motivate students while creating a dynamic learning experience? Students are issued a question via text messaging by the instructor prior to class. Students have one minute to submit an answer to the instructor. A discussion of the question is done at the beginning of class. An award is given to the students who get the correct answer. Each week the question advances in difficulty.  As the questions become more perplexed, so do the prizes. Awards range from one point on their weekly grade to a five dollar star bucks gift card. Students arrive eager to engage in the discussion. Students become excited to win, gain confidence, and most importantly, learn. These tools not only motivate students but also force their minds to engage and critically think about taking care of patients safely.