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Learner Reviews & Feedback for The Science of Well-Being by Yale University

28,253 ratings
10,304 reviews

About the Course

In this course you will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. As preparation for these tasks, Professor Laurie Santos reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change. You will ultimately be prepared to successfully incorporate a specific wellness activity into your life. THE SCIENCE OF WELL BEING WAS PRODUCED IN PART DUE TO THE GENEROUS FUNDING OF THE DAVID F. SWENSEN FUND FOR INNOVATION IN TEACHING....

Top reviews

Jun 14, 2020

This course helped me think of news ways to think and new ways to reach certain goals that I would have not thought about. It's kind of long but I was interested and completed the course feeling good.

Aug 27, 2020

This is an outstanding course! I was able to change into a more positive and productive mindset as taught in this course. I highly recommend it to everyone regardless of your profession or background.

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By Randall R

Nov 18, 2020


I enjoyed the large numbers of people interacting on the forum. Obviously, the course generated lots of curiosity and interest in understanding the science behind happiness and well-being.

I was surprised and somewhat dismayed at the videos by Professor Santos.

The presentation technique was somewhat disconnected and having her look away so often to a screen for her discussion notes was distracting. I would have preferred more interaction and commentary from the attending students that were present during the video recording.

Three things stood out immediately during the course.

First, much of the research data presented was very outdated, and most likely would not be as relevant today 2020. The research also appeared to be limited to college or university level age groups. I suspect that what an 18 to 21-year old student may feel or be cognizant of, relative to their happiness, is way different than a 30 to 40-year old professional typical working class American.

Although I enjoyed the candidness, the other more profound distraction was the course material presentation and the continuous verbal speech disfluency.

The use of the word “like” spoken thousands of times during the videos and discourse was disconcerting to see in a #4 ranked national university.

Much of the talk was like watching a junior high-level social interaction – this includes, disappointedly, Professor Santos’s use of the word like as well.

If this is what university level education allows and that is how a Yale senior student communicates, I would not be spending my money to send my child to that university.

Effective verbal communications are as important as any other learned skill in business or any profession.

And lastly, Professor Santos’s cadence could be slowed down somewhat to increase comprehension of the information, especially the describing of the science research data.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the course and how it progressed. It opened my eyes to what can affect my Happiness and Well-being, and what I can do to modify my behavior.

By Mark L

Jun 8, 2020

The course overall is a positive experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the first 5 weeks. The content was helping me understand more about the psychology of happiness and I will be reviewing the resources that were provided to gain further knowledge based on the scientific studies conducted. The presentations are all well done and easy to watch. I only have one critique and that is the forum or discussion area. When I searched a specific term I noticed that there are posts from previous years or threads that were started years ago. I did set reminders to some discussions at the beginning but did not like the constant irrelevant comments. And found that in the first few weeks the engagement was better than closer to the end of course. I will be recommending this course to friends as it is a good resource that is quite relevant at present with the pandemic and the impact of the pandemic on everyone. I feel that individuals have had time to reflect on what is authentic happiness and hope that people can have a growth mindset in a post-pandemic world.

By Olivia B

Nov 2, 2020

Really great course! I especially appreciated the scientific approach of analyzing different rewirements. As someone who has been suffering from depression and anxiety since I was a child, I think it would have been beneficial to talk more about how these rewirements can benefit those suffering from mental issues (I felt it was addressed as an afterthought...). Depression and anxiety have increased dramatically during the pandemic so these mental issues warrant a more prominent place in the discussion of well-being. From my experience, habit-forming works with concentrating on one small task or goal at a time to avoid getting easily overwhelmed and discouraged. I was surprised that this wasn't mentioned. I was also surprised that practicing self-compassion wasn't mentioned as that is another mental hurdle that many struggle to overcome in forming a habit/rewirement.

Anyway, just my two cents. Otherwise, it is a wonderful and practical course that can help build a foundation for well-being.

By Christoph S

Jul 5, 2020

Der Wert dieses Kurses ist sicherlich für jeden unterschiedlich. Ich glaube, es hängt stark davon ab, wo man sich gerade selber befindet auf der Zufriedenheit-Skala. Und eben auch davon, ob man sich bereits auf anderen Wegen mit den Bereichen Zufriedenheit, Achtsamkeit, Entfaltung etc. befasst hat. Für einige wird dieser Kurs ganz neue, wunderbare Welten eröffnen - für andere gibt er sehr gute Erklärungen für Dinge, die man auch vorher schon geahnt oder gewusst hat. Es geht bei “The Science of Well-Being” aber eben ausdrücklich nicht darum, wie seelisch kranke oder eingeschränkte Personen kuriert werden können, sondern eher darum, wie man seinem Leben einen Zufriedenheits-Boost geben kann. Hierfür findet man in diesem Kurs sehr anschaulich und nachvollziehbar Werkzeuge und wissenschaftliche Hintergründe an die Hand. Der Kurs kann der Startschuss sein für ein zufriedeneres Leben - es kommt aber danach darauf an, das Gelernte auch wirklich langfristig in die Praxis zu überführen.

By Kathleen C

Apr 23, 2020

This course is what you make out of it. If you go in with a closed mind then you wont get anything from it. You will spend your time thinking "well this doesn't apply to me". While not everything discussed will work and apply to everyone, going in with an open mind will help you find what will work for you.

I took this course because I thought: worst case scenario I gain nothing, best case I end up a bit happier, and I committed myself to pay attention and actively try what was being asked of me. If I had entered this course thinking that I could just listen to the lectures and leave happier I would have left the course unsatisfied.

No one is checking that you do the weekly activities so it's up to you the learner to hold yourself accountable. What you put in is what you will get out of it and yah some of the "rewirements" might feel goofy, weird and almost embarrassing, but what I learned is no one is going to judge you for trying something that could make you happier.

By Amy F

Nov 15, 2020

This course may be very helpful for college age students or others of that age group who are struggling with their values and how to balance living a healthy and fulfilled life while still striving to attain their “dreams.” For older people like myself it was not as helpful as through the passing of time we may have learned that life is not so linear and that there is way more “gray” area than what black and white CBT rewirements can do to be actually useful to living a life full of well being. There is so much more to it, and life is so more more nuanced than this. It may help to put into practice some specific goals but that doesn’t make people “happy.” I appreciated the course information though and genuinely learned some things that I hadn’t known. I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, so I will use some of the really substantial research that was provided in the course as reference. Thank you!

By Dagwood

Aug 3, 2020

The Course provides an outstanding summary of scientific literature on the field of positive psychology and the "science of well-being". Many things mentioned by science seemed to me meaningfully linked to common sense; nevertheless it is good to hear science "proving" those very concepts. The acquired library is heavily appreciated. Furthermore, the guest Lectures by various remarked researchers adds some colours to the course. The forum is possible to use; though I have the feeling not enough. A drawback of the course is the assessment. The quizzes at the end are a joke and basically impossible to complete without having 100%. Assignments should change into weekly short essays and reflections about the rewirements of the week; potentially urging the student of the course to apply the learned theory. This would foster memory consolidation.

This apart, I am grateful for the compilation of this course!

By Diana L H

Nov 2, 2020

I learned so many ways to improve my happiness. Before this course I tended to do what I thought would make others happy while forgetting to really look at myself and think what would need to be done for me to truly live a happier life. I chose exercise for my rewirement assignment for the last four weeks of the course. Now that I have completed the course, I will continue my exercise of choice because it benefited me in so many ways. I would like to make a plan whereby I choose one rewirement to do for a four-week time frame until I have tried each one, notating what I thought before I started and how I felt after I completed the four-weeks. Finally, I would like to see which ones I find are worth continuing on my way to a happier life. The gratitude list was over the top especially when I realized it was not too hard to come up with five different things each day to be thankful for.

By Stephen L

Mar 29, 2021

Thanks Laurie,

Course content was very good and lectures and set up of rolling script was excellent.

I was a bit let down by final assessment as peer reviewing process was not what I expected. Albeit a non credit course and small financial investment, the final assignment was a bit of a joke from some. Answers like "I do not know" or single words or very short sentences. The format of the final rewirement was not that clear to me and could have included exact specifications of what was required before you went into the final entry section of assessment.

Enjoyed the content and the quirky delivery. Thanks from the luckiest Non-Covid place on the planet, barring Antarctica. Where am I- Perth WA of course.

Again as my first online Coursera course- I now have clearer expectation of what happens.

Regards Stephen L

By Kelly M

Jun 9, 2020

The value of any course or instruction is not based so much in the content or the instructor, but more so where the student is when they embark on the learning. At the time of my involvement, a world-wide pandemic emerged, personal issues (both good and bad) developed, and my daily habits had to change based on the world around me. This course presented itself as an opportunity, for which I am grateful. Constructively, I would improve the course by going beyond the 'students at Yale' examples as they are but a small sampling of the many people immersed online. Participants and students go well beyond the dozen in front of the Instructor. Refraining from the use of, "you guys" and, "like" would be a fast and simple enhancement, rather than a detraction from learning.

By Guillermo M

Dec 31, 2020

El curso esta muy bueno y me ha servido y servirá de mucho. Los recableados de las nuevas líneas de pensamiento y conductas revalorizadas, o descubiertas como ejes de valores en el curso, son de gran utilidad, y ya las estoy poniendo en practica y disfrutando de las mejoras que otorgan para lograr ser mas felices en la vida.

Solo me ha costado un poco el tema del idioma, mi ingles no es muy bueno, y muchos de los ejercicios están presentados en jpg, o en un formato tal que no los pude copiar para traducir, aparecen como una foto no como texto, y solo lo logre traducirlos, transcribiendo lo que decían, , lo cual, lleva bastante trabajo y demora la interpretación y realización del ejercicio. Seria muy bueno que puedan rever este tema

By Edward A J I

May 13, 2020

Very well put together. The suggestion to delete social media , to me , sounds like more of an escape strategy versus a deal with strategy. Yes we live in a world where social media is very influential, but we need to deal with the mentality of those using the tool. Understanding how social media became America's babysitter and getting people to break away from the addiction by dealing with the reality of themselves.

Why do they invest so much into social media? Is it a sense of fantasy? Is it that one can create a false world of celebrity? Social Media is a tool but understanding responsible usage versus irresponsible usage by identifying the mindset of the user may help change the the broad perception of. "social media."

By Mattie M

Jul 12, 2020

Overall, great class.Her research was very concise and helpful and I feel as though I have more tools in my bucket to access happiness and well-being within myself. I also found better ways to discuss well-being with family and friends who are struggling during this hard time and give them suggestions. My only critique would be that I would have loved to learn about how to get away from bad habits and how to deal with traumatic circumstances. I'm sure the events that have taken place in this year alone have greatly affected everyone in some form or another and I would have liked to learn how to address the toxic and negative aspects of the human experience a bit more. She did do a Facebook live special on Covid!

By Martin D

Feb 4, 2021

Personally, I believe that the science of well-being is a very good online course. It is easy to follow the teacher and all ideas were backed by scientific evidence. However, it was a bit confusing that the weeks of the course did not correspond directly to the lectures, one lecture might span 2-3 weeks which made the timetable a bit messy. While I did like the idea of a concluding feedback video at the end I believe the students could have benefited from more feedback along the way of their final rewirement challenge.

All in all I did enjoy the class, took some useful inputs for me and would recommend it to others. Good job and thank you for providing the material for free :)

By Andreas B

Jun 17, 2020

Very inspiring. Something to think about it. A good mix of lectures, exercises, videos and more. What is missing to 5 stars? I was not aware at the beginning of the course the content is mainly focused on young (Yale) students. My mistake. I realised this not only during the lessons but also in some discussions. With my 50+ and as a 'mature' student, I felt sometimes - well, not really adressed. I wish the content would be slightly made for a broader audience, not only in age. The constant references to Yale, students, grades etc. does not give me any resonance. This is still a very good course. Somehow and sometimes I felt like an observer of a class of students.