The Impact of a Utility Value Intervention on Learning and Motivation of Students in Vocational Education.

  • Arnoud Telkamp

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Within Dutch Vocational Education (VA), motivating students for general courses like English, is sometimes challenging, in part because the link with their planned profession is less obvious. An intervention on Utility Value for students can help increase motivation, reduce cognitive load, and promote academic achievement. This randomized field experiment, with 88 participants, investigated how such an intervention could increase the Utility Value for the English subject at a digital art and design course in a Vocational Education. The results showed an expected outcome in terms of averages: in the experimental group, the Utility Value for the subject English was higher immediately after the intervention, and lower in the post-intervention measurement, than in the control group. In the experimental group, learning-related positive performance emotions were also higher and intrinsic-, extraneous-, and germane cognitive load lower. Except for intrinsic cognitive load, the differences found were not found to be statistically significant. Thus, there is no convincing evidence that a Utility Value intervention has the desired effect in this population. The outcomes can be partially explained by the impact of COVID-19 which meant that classes took place online and teachers/students still had to adjust to this 'new normal'. Also, the relatively small sample size resulted in lower statistical power. For future interventions, it is recommended to take into account that students in vocational education are more likely to experience a lack of challenge and lower intrinsic motivation in their studies. Improvements for future studies may be found in promoting interesting and challenging intervention materials for this specific target group.

Date of Award28 Mar 2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorKate Xu (Supervisor)


  • Utility Value
  • Motivation
  • Cognitive Load
  • Academic Achievement
  • Vocational Education

Master's Degree

  • Master Onderwijswetenschappen

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