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University of Edinburgh

Social Wellbeing

University of Edinburgh via FutureLearn

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Since the financial crisis, there has been an increased interest in moving away from GDP and wealth as measures of national and individual performance. Instead, more explicit attention is being paid to wellbeing around the world, and how we can promote it at individual, local, national and international levels.

Join a global community of wellbeing practitioners

This free online course will help you engage constructively in the wellbeing movement, and use wellbeing considerations to make important transformations to your work and your ways of planning, learning and justifying your decisions.

The course aims to create a global community of wellbeing practitioners, who can inspire and learn from each other, including:

  • human resources (HR) professionals, who are keen to embrace wellbeing and purpose, to improve staff satisfaction and productivity;
  • social planners from the public and third sector, who want to address the social and economic factors that affect wellbeing at a community level;
  • and policy makers and civil servants, who wish to measure wellbeing or understand the life outcomes that matter most to people when developing policy.

Look at the world through a wellbeing lens

On the course, you will find out how careful consideration of wellbeing – looking at the world through a wellbeing lens – can make everyone more focused, motivated, considerate and effective.

We will ask: could your work, and your organisation, become more effective by making wellbeing a core theme? What does it mean, in practice, to use a wellbeing lens? And beyond this general label, what more specific aspects of life enhancement can we usefully highlight in our organisational aims and performance targets?

Explore wellbeing from individual to international levels

Finally, we will consider the factors that contribute to wellbeing at different levels:

  • Personal and interpersonal: what are the main ways of thinking about wellbeing as a whole? What are the key domains and components of personal wellbeing?
  • Organisational and community: how do communities and organisations facilitate wellbeing? What is community vitality? What is a healthy organisational climate?
  • National and international: What is national wellbeing and how can we measure and promote it?

Learn with wellbeing researchers and practitioners

The course has been developed by the University of Edinburgh, with support from the Scottish Universities Insight Institute and Scotland’s Futures Forum, and contributions from a range of organisations, including Oxfam, Carnegie UK Trust, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Volunteering Scotland.

The course team has a wealth of experience on the national and international wellbeing debate, having researched topics such as happiness and subjective wellbeing, and the impact of the welfare state on them.

Re-use license

Except where otherwise stated, all course content is licensed by the University of Edinburgh under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The course is primarily designed for policy makers and practitioners from both the public and private sectors, whose professional work requires them to think and talk about wellbeing. However, the course is open to everybody and we welcome learners who want to improve their lives by looking through a wellbeing lens.

Taught by

Elke Heins and Neil Thin


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