Course Evaluation

The Action for Happiness course delivers big benefits. An independent study found that the 'Exploring What Matters' course enhances wellbeing, reduces symptoms of mental ill-health and encourages pro-social action.

The Exploring What Matters course has been subjected to a full Randomised Controlled Trial from by leading academic experts. The results show that, compared to a control group, the course delivers large and statistically significant benefits in terms of:


Improved general wellbeing

Difficult feelings

Less depression and anxiety


More compassion and social trust

EWM results summary

About the Study

The Randomised Control Trial evaluation was carried out by Prof Jan-Emmanuel de Neve (Oxford University), Dr Christian Krekel (London School of Economics) and Dr Daisy Fancourt (University College London) as part of the evidence programme of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing. The Action for Happiness project team was led by Keith Cowley and Dr Mark Williamson.

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The study found the course increases average Life Satisfaction by a whole point (+1.0) on the 0-10 scale. This is greater than the increases in Life Satisfaction seen from becoming partnered (+0.59) or finding employment (+0.7), when compared with findings from other cross-sectional studies. This increase also appears to last (and even increase) when measured again two months after the course.

The full academic paper can be found here:

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Study Citation

Krekel, C., Neve, J-E., Fancourt, D., Layard, R. (2021), A local community course that raises wellbeing and pro-sociality: Evidence from a randomised controlled trial, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Volume 188, 2021, Pages 322-336, ISSN 0167-2681

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