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Behaviour Change Interventions: Introductory Principles and Practice

Explore behaviour change frameworks, and how they can be used to enable behaviour change in yourself and others.

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Behaviour Change Interventions: Introductory Principles and Practice

Learn how to change important behaviours in your personal or professional life

People all over the world are facing multiple serious threats to their well-being. From global warming to the burden of chronic disease, there is a need for different disciplines and professionals to work together towards a common purpose of helping people to behave differently.

On this course, you’ll be supported to think about problems in terms of behaviours and apply principles and practices that can enable change.

Discover why behavioural science is important

Using frameworks based on behavioural science, you’ll learn a systematic method for developing interventions.

You’ll consider how to define a behaviour, and then see how to distinguish behaviours from what influences them and the outcomes they lead to.

Explore behaviour change tools

You’ll be introduced to three behavioural science tools, understand how they link together, and how they can be applied. You will also learn how to select key behaviours from a ‘system’ of behaviours.

As you find out how to think about behaviours in their context, you’ll conduct a ‘behavioural diagnosis’ to understand what influences them, and develop appropriate intervention strategies.

To understand behaviours and design interventions to change them, you will become familiar with the Capability Opportunity Motivation – Behaviour (COM-B) model, the Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW), and the Behaviour Change Techniques Taxonomy (BCTT).

From behavioural science interventions to policies

Behavioural science experts at UCL will guide you through different types of behaviour change intervention and related policy options.

You’ll leave this course understanding key principles and practices of behaviour change. You’ll learn how to apply these to the problems you want to tackle and emerge confident about how to change behaviours for the better.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds Behaviour. Life, society and the future of our species on this planet depends on human behaviour. Some behaviours improve life, society, and our environment. For example, eating healthily, washing our hands, and buying local in-season foods. Other behaviours are damaging, for example, smoking, littering plastic waste, and driving cars that pollute.

Skip to 0 minutes and 39 seconds My name is Susan Michie. I’m Director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at University College London, known as UCL. UCL has a long tradition of applying science to the big problems facing the world, including health inequalities, pandemics, and the climate emergency. Behaviours don’t occur in a vacuum but are influenced by other behaviours, a system of behaviours. So we can think about whose behaviours might need to change. It is often difficult to change behaviours and to sustain that change. But there is a science of behaviour change that can point the way as to how to do this most successfully. This course is relevant to everyone’s behaviour.

Skip to 1 minute and 26 seconds You’ll have practical examples from the real world so that you can link up the principles of behaviour change with the practice. We will introduce you to frameworks and tools to help you think about behaviour and to design interventions and policies to enable people to change their behaviour. Throughout the course, you will have plenty of opportunity to test out your understanding of the key concepts, discuss how they apply to your areas of interest, and reach out for help and support from both your peers and the experts. And you’ll even get the chance to talk to academics in a live session at the end of the course.

Skip to 2 minutes and 9 seconds If you’re interested in the science that underpins strategies to enable behaviour change, then this is the course for you.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Defining and selecting behaviours to change

    • Welcome to the course

      Welcome to the Behaviour Change Interventions: Introductory Principles and Practice course! We are looking forward to working with you and hope you will enjoy learning with us!

    • Defining behaviour

      Different people use the terms “behaviour” and “behaviour change” in different ways for different purposes. To maximise clarity of thinking and communication, it is always helpful to define terms so there is a shared understanding

    • Identifying targets for behaviour change

      Many different behaviours may be relevant to a goal that we want to achieve. Let's think about how we might identify and explore those behaviours!

    • Choosing a target behaviour

      Now let's think about how we move from many different possible behaviours, to a selected target behaviour to change. You will learn how to use set criteria to choose your target behaviour in a systematic and evidence informed way.

    • Specifying a target behaviour

      Now that we have selected a target behaviour, let's think about how to specify it in a way that will help us in the rest of the process of intervention development.

    • Round-up of week 1

      Here we look at what you have covered in week 1, any questions you may have and what you'll be doing next week!

  • Week 2

    Introduction to the COM-B model

    • Welcome to week 2

      Welcome to the second week of your course. This week we will be looking at a simple model for understanding behaviour called the COM-B model. This will help you to explore different influences on behaviour.

    • Understanding behaviour in context

      Once we have a selected and specified target behaviour we need to understand it. Here we will introduce you to the COM-B model of behaviour which helps us to do this!

    • Using COM-B to carry out a diagnosis

      Now you have been introduced to the COM-B model let's think about how it can be used to diagnose your target behaviour.

    • Peer Review

      In this section you will write a short peer review and then receive feedback from a learner on the course. The subject matter will be on what you learnt last week.

    • Round-up of week 2

      Here we look at what you have covered in week 2, any questions you may have and what you'll be doing next week!

  • Week 3

    Selecting Intervention Types and Policy Options in intervention design

    • Welcome to week 3

      Welcome to Week 3 of the course. This week we will focus on how to develop interventions to address influences in order to change our target behaviour. We will introduce two concepts; Intervention Types and Policy Options.

    • Intervention types: What are they?

      Let's take a look at the nine intervention types included in the Behaviour Change Wheel framework. Here you will have the opportunity to learn what each intervention type is and how you might identify it.

    • Selecting intervention types for intervention design

      Now you know what intervention types are, let's think about how you select them as part of the intervention design process.

    • Policy options: What are they?

      Let's take a look at the seven policy options included in the Behaviour Change Wheel framework. Here you will have the opportunity to learn what each policy option is and how you might identify it.

    • Selecting policy options for intervention design

      Now you know what policy options are, let's think about how you select them as part of the intervention design process.

    • The APEASE criteria

      Let's take a look at a set of criteria that can help you to select intervention types and policy options that are likely to work best in your particular context.

    • Peer Review

      This assignment will be reviewed by your fellow learners

    • Round-up of week 3

      Here we look at what you have covered in week 3, any questions you may have and what you'll be doing next week!

  • Week 4

    Behaviour Change Techniques (BCTs) – selecting for intervention design

    • Welcome to week 4

      The last week of the course introduces the final step in the Behaviour Change Wheel process and draws together previous steps you have covered to look at the process in its entirety. You will also be invited to a live session with

    • BCTs, what are they?

      Now it's time to take a look at the definition of a BCT. Here you will have the opportunity to look at some examples of BCTs and think about how you might identify them.

    • Selecting BCTs for intervention design

      Now you know what BCTs are, let's think about how you select them as part of the intervention design process.

    • Introducing the MY COMRADE intervention

      Let's now work through a real world example of the Behaviour Change Wheel process that includes all of the steps that we have covered in this course.

    • Course round-up and what happens next?

      Here we look at what you have covered in week 4 and across the course, any questions you may have and how you can develop your training further!

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify potential targets for behaviour change.
  • Describe a specific behavioural problem in terms of what needs to change: capability, opportunity and/or motivation and use the COM-B model to describe the influences on a target behaviour.
  • Apply the Behaviour Change Wheel to develop strategies for behaviour change.
  • Evaluate and select specific Behaviour Change Techniques within those strategies.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for learners who would like an entry-level understanding of behaviour change. If you want to know more about behaviour and how to change it to create a healthy and happy population, and a sustainable world, this course is for you.

Who will you learn with?

Dr. Danielle D'Lima is Senior Teaching Fellow at the Centre for Behaviour Change, University College London. Her background is in Health Psychology and Implementation Science.

Susan Michie, FMedSci, FAcSS, FBA is Professor of Health Psychology and Director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at University College London. She is co-Director of UCL’s MSc in Behaviour Change.

Dr. Paul Chadwick is an Associate Professor at the UCL Centre for Behaviour Change where he works on the development of interdisciplinary approaches to behaviour change

Lecturer, researcher and consultant in behavioural science with a specialism in digital health interventions.

Dr Lou Atkins PhD CPsychol AFBPsS leads the Centre for Behaviour Change Australasian Hub. Lou is a researcher, trainer and consultant in behaviour change intervention design and evaluation.

Who developed the course?

UCL (University College London)

UCL was founded in 1826. It was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, and the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it.

What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

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