The course offers “self-management, self-regulation and stress management strategies from a positive psychology, cognitive, and neuroscience perspective,” wrote Lyn Benn, Director for Student Development and Success at the Learning Centre in an email to The Runner.
The aim of the course is to “explore the relationship between positive psychology and effective learning strategies,” to help students develop what is called a thriving mindset, according to the program description.
Thriving in Action is based on a program called ThriveRU which is offered at Ryerson University. Much like KPU’s program, ThriveRU is an initiative aimed at promoting wellbeing through positive psychology to students, faculty and staff at Ryerson.
In the beginning, Thriving in Action was a 12-week program but it was reduced to six weeks.
“We found in the first couple of entry iterations that for KPU students it ran too long, because [the program] was going 12-weeks. So what was happening was the students were enthusiastic in the beginning, and then attendance started dropping off,” says Marti Alger, one of the three learning strategists facilitating the course this semester.
The program covers topics such as awe, meaningfulness, character strengths, curiosity and creativity, gratitude, growth mindsets, intentionality, resilience, optimism, self-compassion, willpower, and habits.
This semester, the course has run every Friday morning from 10:00 am to noon, with the last class on Feb. 11.
Alger along with the other three facilitators had to get training before providing the course to students.
“We decided that we’d like to learn more about it … so we got all the training materials and we took the course and we were pretty enthusiastic about trying it out at Kwantlen,” says Alger.
In one of the recent sessions, students discussed strategies on how to make or break their habits.
“Sometimes you really want to break a bad habit, like perhaps your habit is procrastination. Or maybe you have other habits, like playing video games, or something that has become a real barrier to your happiness,” says Alger.
“Or you may want to introduce a new habit, like exercise, or taking regular breaks in your study sessions so that you feel fresh when you’re studying.”
In the program, Alger and the other facilitators felt that they should do less with learning strategies, and instead focus more on self-care and positive psychology.
Casey Skuce is a student enrolled in the program and doing a minor in Language and Culture.
“I’m in my first year of university, and I thought Thriving in Action would be a great opportunity to learn more about how well-being can improve my university experience. I was hoping I would pick up new strategies for staying motivated, especially as classes have been online,” she wrote in an email to The Runner.
Malika Manchanda who is in KPU’s Associate of Arts in Psychology program, is another student currently taking the course.
“I thought to myself before taking this class that this will help me become a better person, I have been trying to create my path to optimism and this could be a great step in the process. I have battled low self-esteem for a long time but have been getting better because of such steps,” wrote Manchanda.
The course is expected to be offered again in the summer and fall semesters, with work being done to offer a microcredential for successful completion in future.
“We’re hoping that someday, we’ll feel confident enough that we can offer live sessions and we will offer the same material, but in a group that’s live. That’s my plan. That’s my hope,” says Alger.