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Wellbeing across the lifecourse

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The promotion of wellbeing at all ages is essential for building a prosperous society. This module examines key issues associated with wellbeing in childhood, adulthood and later life. Drawing on core theories and real-life case studies, this module considers different sources of wellbeing and explores how health care, social care and public health professionals can support the wellbeing of individuals and populations. The module also focuses on building skills required for further study, including handling data, evaluating information and academic writing.

What you will study

This module is made up of four blocks of study.

Block 1: This block introduces the two core module concepts – wellbeing and the lifecourse. You’ll start exploring what factors influence wellbeing, considering the different levels at which factors operate and the extent to which individuals have control over these factors. You’ll learn how taking a lifecourse perspective contributes to our understanding of health and wellbeing. The block will also introduce what is public health, and what is health and social care.

Block 2: Children’s wellbeing is a fundamental ingredient for emotional, mental, social, and physical development. Childhood consequently is a critical period in laying the foundation for future lifecourse outcomes. In Block 2, you’ll explore contemporary debates surrounding the wellbeing of children, such as whether children and young people’s mental health is in ‘crises’. You’ll also explore professional values and ethics around involving children and young people in healthcare decisions.

Block 3: The third block moves the focus onto adulthood. You’ll explore examples of adult health and social care provision. This will also include an exploration of the experiences of individuals transitioning from child to adult services. Block 3 will also explore public health priorities and evaluate different interventions that aim to support and sustain population wellbeing in adulthood.

Block 4: You often hear stories in the news about the fact that people are living longer and that the proportion of older people within the population is increasing. These news stories are frequently presented as a problem. Block 4 explores the debates surrounding later life and wellbeing, in particular highlighting diversity in experiences. You’ll examine topics including ageism, integrated care, and mental health in later life.

The topics in the module are bought to life through the use of real-life case studies and engaging audio and video resources. You’ll develop study skills through activities woven into the study materials that support you with your module assignments and prepare you for further academic study.

Entry requirements

There are no entry requirements for this module.

This is an OU level 1 module which provides core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning, to help you progress to modules at OU level 2.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

What's included

This module is delivered primarily through online learning guides. You’ll have access to a module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific study material
  • audio and video content
  • assessment details
  • access to online tutorials and study forums
  • access to teaching and library resources

You will also be guided to find and research for relevant resources using the OU Library.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying K119 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Wellbeing across the lifecourse (K119) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2030.

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
3 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
End-of-module assessment