Driving Student-Initiated Learning on the ReadToMe Student Edition Mobile App – An Analysis of the Approach and its Impact

ReadToMe Reading Champion

The Importance of Mobile App-Driven Self-Learning

The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the need to encourage self-driven mobile-assisted learning among students as much as (if not more than) teacher-centered learning. In light of this, the need to nudge students toward self-initiated, independent and out-of-the-classroom learning is becoming more and more evident1. Studies investigating the influence of gamified mobile learning apps indicate that students’ retention rate on the app and academic performance increase through the use of apps. These in turn are positively correlated with academic achievement2.

Driving Student Engagement on ReadToMe Student Edition

ReadToMe Student Edition is an Android app that enables students to revise their school textbooks on their mobile devices using ReadToMe®. ReadToMe®  is EnglishHelper’s AI-driven multisensory reading and comprehension software. In previous studies3, we have reported the influence of teacher-centered methods in increasing student engagement on the app. In the current study, we examine the effect of student-centered nudges on increasing student retention and engagement with ReadToMe Student Edition.

Student-Centered Nudge: Contest

The study to increase engagement with ReadToMe Student Edition was conducted among 4,000 students (2,000 from Maharashtra and Punjab, each) who had exhibited high engagement with the app. Through WhatsApp and in-app notifications, students were encouraged to revise their textbooks during the summer break and provide evidence of the revision by a return WhatsApp image. In addition, an equal number of students who had never engaged with the app, received the same messaging. The study was conducted during summer break from school, with the aim of understanding ways of creating student-initiated engagement with the app. The campaign was active for a 15-day period in June, 2022. The campaign was positioned as a contest and students exhibiting high engagement and sharing evidence through WhatsApp messages were felicitated at their schools at the end of the campaign4.

Presented below is the flow of events for the study which was titled ‘ReadToMe Reading Champion’:

Evidence of Influence of Student-Centered Nudge

Overall, 12.5% students (494) who received WhatsApp messages returned to the app and exhibited high engagement.

Of these, 31% also replied with evidence of engagement through a return WhatsApp message.

Students engaged for longer during the campaign period.

More students engaged with the app and for greater lengths of time during the campaign period, compared to the 15-day period prior to and after the campaign.

Concurrent notifications sent through the app garnered another 50 students engaging with the app and providing evidence of engagement through WhatsApp.

45 students from the low engagement sample began to engage with the app. These students had never engaged with the app prior to the campaign.

Patterns of engagement and WhatsApp replies were consistent across students from both states.

Scaling the Approach

Based on the initial evidence that contest-driven nudges increase student engagement with the app, contest campaigns are being integrated in ReadToMe Student Edition. These integrations are undertaken through a concerted programmatic approach and include development of points-system leaderboards and innovative contests. The influence of these approaches at scale will be evaluated in upcoming studies.


1 – Yuzhi Lai, Nadira Saab, Wilfried Admiraal, University students’ use of mobile technology in self-directed language learning: Using the integrative model of behavior prediction, Computers & Education, Volume 179, 2022, 104413, ISSN 0360-1315, (

2 – Pechenkina, E., Laurence, D., Oates, G. et al. Using a gamified mobile app to increase student engagement, retention and academic achievement. Int J Educ Technol High Educ 14, 31 (2017).

3 – Early Trends: Teachers’ use of ReadToMe® in School encourages Students Engagement, 

4 – Facebook-,