Making the student journey a hero’s journey through curriculum design

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsConference Presentation


“Looking at teaching and learning as an archetypal Hero’s Journey is a good way of talking about education in its psychological and spiritual depths because the Hero’s Journey is fundamentally an educative one” (Mayes, 2010, p.11). Education is not simply a process of dispassionately acquiring and filing away discrete packets of knowledge, but is a journey during which characters are formed and in which individuals come to gain greater understanding of their subject and themselves. Students’ educational journeys are rich, complex and multi-layered experiences in which mental models of reality are challenged and changed, and where new ways of thinking become new ways of being. In this session delegates will be introduced to the stages of the Hero’s Journey and to the resources available on our ‘Calling Students to Adventure’ website ( We will explore the ways that this storytelling archetype can be applied to delegates’ previous learning experiences, and also can be used as a framework to structure and design university modules and courses. During the session, a selection of diagnostic questions will be shared with the participants as tools to go forward: each will prompt educators to consider the position and momentum of students on their individual journeys; from leaving their ordinary world behind and entering the special world of Higher Education, to their return to the ordinary world at the end of each year - and finally their return at the end of the degree. This session will particularly consider ways in which teams can use these questions to collaborate in designing the curriculum of the courses they work on.
References: Mayes, C. (2010) The Archetypal Hero’s Journey in Teaching and Learning: A Study in Jungian Pedagogy. Madison: Atwood Publishing.
Period3 Nov 2023
Event titleRocky Mountain University of Health Professions Virtual Teaching & Learning Summit 2023
Event typeConference
LocationProvo, United States, UtahShow on map


  • hero's journey
  • course design
  • Learning and teaching
  • learning design
  • curriculum design
  • curriculum planning