How can an online course be designed to promote better mood and improved lighting and darkness conditions in the home? Based on the Information-Motivation-Behaviour Skills Model, the online course comprises multiple components (light, activity and sleep) and various learning strategies. Factual information is provided about, e.g. light as the most potent external time cue for the internal body clock, characteristics of good indoor lighting, and the complex relationship between light, outdoor physical activity and sleep. Course content is adapted to the target users (aged 70–75) and includes practical exercises and skills training to make learning experiences interesting and enjoyable. Course participants are encouraged to use a test kit to identify individual lighting needs and preferences, practise sleep restriction based on daily sleep entries in a diary, and reflect on goal setting and implementation intention. Motivation is considered through information about the individual benefits of maintaining routines, the possibility of peer support, weekly encouragement from the course leader/interventionist and automatic feedback through text messages on the mobile phone on completion of each module. The online course will run for nine weeks and deliver a behaviour-intervention program as part of a pilot study. Mixed methods will be used in the design phase and evaluation phase. Expert and target users’ experiences with the learning management system and intervention content will be identified using questionnaires and interviews in a mock-up housing environment and real-world apartments. Comparisons of outcomes (duration and frequency of physical activity, patterns of rest and activity, sleep quality, mood, changes to the home environment) before and after the intervention will be made through technical measurements (e.g., wrist-worn actigraphy), questionnaires and interviews. Long-term goals are to improve the design of the home environment and promote changes to routines to enhance the health and wellbeing of the ageing population.
Kiran Maini Gerhardsson, MArch, PhD in environmental psychology. I do research and teach sustainable design and lighting to architecture students at Lund University. My general research interest is the interaction between people and their environment, for example, people’s experiences and reasons for their actions. The main research topic is light and health, and I am currently involved in experimental research targeting older adults living in ordinary housing.