PROSOCIAL-WE - Prosocial learning in student Well-being and Education

Prosocial actions, including prosocial learning, help us to engage and connect with others, build and maintain friendships, navigate social contexts successfully, and thus contribute indispensably to our health and well-being. We will examine prosocial learning and its opportunities to improve students’ well-being and academic learning.

Our goals are to first, examine the relationships between prosocial learning, well-being, and educational achievement in students. Second, to organise and engage in a research-based workshop about (pro)social learning in which we also explore ways to embed everyday prosocial acts at universities

This newly formed international team is made up of students and researchers from Leiden University, the University of Birmingham, and the University of Cologne. This research will benefit from strong alliances at each site. Leiden University will coordinate the project and empirical data-collection, which will take place at each site, involving students and researchers. The University of Birmingham will host the workshop on (pro)social learning. All universities will participate in the outreach, communication, and embedding of the project.

Purpose and Significance

Despite the potential link of prosocial learning with students’ health, well-being and educational achievement, this relationship remains poorly understood, and under-addressed in students. This project will create impact by systematically investigating prosocial learning at multiple EUniWell university sites. The knowledge from this project can help gain insights into optimal learning contexts that help students’ well-being and learning. This project complements EUniWells activities and objectives by building connections and building exchanges to enhance and improve student well-being. It also engages students and researchers in an international community across three countries.

Implementation Method and Timeline

First, we will organise advisory groups to involve a broader group of students in the co-design of this research project. Based on this input we will set-up an online experimental game to assess prosocial learning and to empirically test the relationships between prosocial learning, well-being and educational achievement. Following this, we will organise a workshop attended by all partnering universities to embed our results on prosocial learning in relation to students’ health, well-being and education. This workshop will aim to engage international academic exchange and discussion between staff, researchers and students on the topic of prosocial behaviour. Finally, we will set up outreach and communication initiatives to broadcast results from our learning game and the (pro)social cognition workshop. This will include, but is not limited to, blogs and a scientific paper.

Tentative milestones are: 

  • Project Prosocial-WE Kickoff (September 2022)
  • Launch empirical study (December 2022) 
  • Prosocial learning workshop (May 2023)
  • Outreach and communication (e.g., blogs, scientific paper) (November, March, July 2023)

Expected Outcomes

Our findings will form the starting point for exploring ways to use aspects of (pro)social learning in empowering students’ well-being and learning. Collecting and combining insights at three different sites will allow us to examine the reproducibility and diversity of the impact of prosocial learning on well-being and learning. Moreover, these findings will enable further research collaboration between our partner universities. In addition, the research results and the outcomes of the social cognition workshop can be shared and broadcasted within the wider EUniWell Alliance to boost prosocial behaviour, health, and well-being of students.


Anna C.K. van Duijvenvoorde (Leiden)