Build Connections


Students, especially those at-risk for underperformance, often struggle to understand the value of what they are learning. Prior field experiments show that utility value interventions can boost motivation and performance for at-risk students.

Motivate Lab partnered with Character Lab to develop a teacher-led activity called Build Connections. It aims to improve students' perceptions of coursework value by helping students understand how their existing interests relate to content learned in school. An initial prototype, Making Connections, was developed based on a decade of research on utility value by Chris Hulleman and colleagues.

Four core components of the intervention were identified:

  1. Students reflect on their lives
  2. Students review classroom content
  3. Students brainstorm possible connections
  4. Student strengthen one of those connections

Learn more about Build Connections in this short video, read our Executive Summary

Project Status: 2015-Present

Funding Source: Character Lab

Principal Investigator: Stephanie Wormington