Designing for wellbeing: An inclusive learning design approach with student mental health vignettes

Lister, Kate and McFarlane, Ruth (2021). Designing for wellbeing: An inclusive learning design approach with student mental health vignettes. Open Praxis, 13(2) (In Press).

Abstract

Student mental health is a growing concern for universities; increasing numbers of students are experiencing wellbeing issues, and distance learners are particularly at risk. Evidence indicates that triggers for mental health difficulties can reside within higher education environments, systems and study practices, implying that a proactive, inclusive design approach should be considered to complement mental health service provision.

Student vignettes that illustrate experiences of mental health difficulties in study are a valuable learning design tool; they have potential to support more inclusive practice by informing learning design. This paper explores the role learning design can play in creating learning that supports student mental wellbeing, it shares vignettes created in the study, discusses a case study of their use, and gives examples of barriers students experience and learning design considerations that may address these. This method was found to be engaging and effective in illustrating barriers and in supporting practitioners to identify learning design considerations to mitigate these.

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