We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip main navigation

Different ways to learn

A brief introduction to the learning style for the course.
Laptop, pen, paper, pad
© University of Liverpool
Welcome to the course.
We have deliberately structured this course to encourage learning. You will be given papers to read that will stretch and challenge your understanding of the fundamental nature of mental health problems. We will offer some guidance and explain the context to the reading materials (in videos and the captions to course articles), but we are deliberately not giving too many facts or even that much information. Instead, we would like you to read the articles and papers that are supplied, consider what they say, and make up your own mind.


In mental health, perhaps more than any other area of science, there are huge differences of opinion. The debate around psychiatric diagnosis is important; people differ profoundly in respect to how important and helpful, or unhelpful and damaging, they think diagnoses are in mental health.
It’s not really the business of a University to tell you what to think, but we can help you learn how to think. We should help you find, and then think about, the most important scientific and professional articles published in this area, and help you think for yourself.
As you go through the course, you’ll find some brief videos that set the context for the week, and then some important papers. These papers often (deliberately) disagree with each other – your job is to debate the different perspectives. That might – we hope – involve discussing the issues with other learners, using the comment sections at the end of each step.
So… read, think, debate and learn. Don’t just take anything at face value.
As an example – Wikipedia describes ‘mental health’ as “…an absence of a mental disorder”. But the World Health Organisation’s definition of mental health suggests that mental health is “… more than the absence of mental illness”. These two statements can’t BOTH be right… so you’ll have to think for yourself.
It might only be a small, semantic, point, and you may well prefer the advice of the World Health Organisation over the crowd-sourced wisdom of Wikipedia, but it’s an important one. Is “mental health” more than the absence of “mental illness”? There are two contrasting perspectives… your job is to critically evaluate them and make your own mind up.
© University of Liverpool
This article is from the free online

Beyond Diagnosis: Is Psychiatric Diagnosis helpful?

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education