To Avoid AI Cheating — Convince Students Learning Your Thing Is Worth Their Effort (Using This GPT)

Maya Bialik
3 min readJan 17, 2024


When students cheat, it’s because they are being asked to put in effort, and they have not been convinced that that effort is worthwhile.

In the course of a typical curriculum, we may touch on the importance or application of your content “to the real world”. Maybe we even do a project that makes that connection explicit. Sometimes students ask “why are we learning this?” and we try to answer. But we don’t typically have time to focus on really showing students the rationale behind everything we ask them to do.

With AI, it’s easier than ever to cheat. We say to them, “you’re only cheating yourself” but that doesn’t really make sense from their perspective. If it were up to them, they would not be doing the assignment. So clearly they’re not doing it for themselves, so they’re not cheating themselves.

So how can we convince students that the work we are asking them to do is worthwhile? Especially given that we ask them to do slightly different work every day, and each student is going to find a different angle motivating?

I made a GPT to do just this. It’s called Why Should I Learn This.

Hypothetically students can use it themselves any time they are feeling unmotivated by the way the assignment was framed, but custom GPTs are a paid feature, so it’s not fair to expect students to pay for it. At the very least, the teacher with a paid plan can use this for each assignment and supply it to the students if they’re interested.

For example, we were studying Punnett Squares and Pedigrees, a thorny topic that was requiring students to work hard. They asked me, why are we learning this? Interestingly, they didn’t ask me when I was giving them softballs. They wanted to know why they should put in the work. And I think it’s a reasonable question!

I put it into the GPT and here is what it gave me:

You can then ask it further questions. For example, “What are the practical implications in fields like medicine, agriculture, and conservation?”

I’ve had several students this year say “Oh, so this is how they cure diseases? I want to cure a disease when I grow up” and then remain motivated for the rest of the unit. That is what I hope AI can do for all students, for all units.

I plan on going one step further than just presenting them with this and asking my students to choose one of the options that they find most motivating and write a few sentences about it. Maybe I will have them choose one that they think is already a strength and talk about that, or choose one they perceive to be a weakness, and talk about why they might want to work on it.

What else should I have them do with it?

Also, I put those categories in there as a starting point for the kinds of reasons I think students could find motivating. Connecting the knowledge to concepts, to the future, and to other disciplines, and surfacing the skills that the assignment requires you to develop.

Do you think these four are good categories? How should I improve it?



Maya Bialik

Creator of Teacher, author, and speaker making learning meaningful and making teaching more enjoyable.