Enabling students’ wellbeing in distance design education

Sippel, Muriel.E. (2024). Enabling students’ wellbeing in distance design education. International Journal of Art & Design Education (In Press).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jade.12501


Understanding changes to student wellbeing on design modules in a distance higher education setting is difficult. Previous research suggested that environmental, study and skills related barriers impact on the wellbeing of learners at a distance. This study sought to understand the experiences of barriers and what enabled distance design students’ wellbeing. It identifies avenues to balance tensions between conflicting experiences of studying design and maintaining wellbeing that our participants disclosed in a longitudinal, qualitative study using repeat interviews, experience sampling and a diary study. The findings provide insights from the learners’ perspectives. Students reported strategies on how to deal with open-ended design projects and how to cope with feedback. They revealed how they currently seek and receive support for design work and wellbeing. We uncovered how learners keep to deadlines and how they approach social learning. The study also exposed enabling study rhythms to facilitate creative flow and how creative environments are set up in the learners’ homes. Our findings suggest that educators and designers of hybrid and distance design education should pay attention to three key aspects: dealing with uncertainty, learning satisficing, and managing creative flow, to enable design students’ wellbeing.

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