EDF4603 - Behaviour change interventions for practitioners - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Chief examiner(s)

Nicholas Gamble


Anneke Jurgens

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2018 (On-campus)


Successful completion of an Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) accredited major sequence in psychology


Enrolment in 3242, 3243, 3509, D5002


This unit focuses on the principles and procedures of applied behaviour analysis (ABA) in changing human behaviour. A range of behaviour change procedures to establish new behaviours, increase desirable behaviours and decrease undesirable behaviours are introduced. ABA typically employs single-subject research methodology. This unit introduces students to this technology, encompassing observational systems and single-subject research designs. The unit also highlights the role of functional behavioural assessment procedures in the context of positive behaviour support (PBS) and the development of effective non-aversive behaviour reduction interventions. It outlines the basic issues in developing behaviour modification programs to change one's own behaviour, a process called self-management. The ethical and social validity issues around the implementation of behaviour change procedures are highlighted, specifically in relation to those involving interventions including aversive procedures.


Upon successful completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. articulate the basic principles of ABA including their application to establish new behaviours, increase desired behaviours and diminish inappropriate behaviours
  2. describe behaviour in observational terms
  3. conduct reliable and valid behavioural observations and choose appropriate experimental designs for specific research questions
  4. discuss ethical and social validity issues concerning the choice of target behaviours and appropriate interventions for vulnerable populations
  5. implement a simple intervention to change personal behaviour and monitor and report its effectiveness.


Weekly quizzes (1600 words equivalent, 40%)

Case study (2400 words, 60%)

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 144 hours per semester comprising:

  1. Contact hours for on-campus students:
    • 2-hour lecture per week
  2. Additional requirements:
    • 10 hours of independent study per week

See also Unit timetable information