ENS5520 - Understanding human behaviour to influence change - 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)

Dr Brad Jorgensen


Mr Mark Boulet

Unit guides



  • First semester 2018 (Evening)


This is a specialist core unit for the Leadership for Sustainable Development specialisation and an elective unit within the other specialisations. There are no prerequisite units, but non-cognate students must complete Part B studies prior to undertaking Part C specialist studies.


Behavioural change approaches are an important, and often very cost effective, part of the mix of solutions to many sustainability and other public policy issues, such as water conservation, energy efficiency and immunisation. Considerable opportunities exist in this space, as comparatively little time and effort is usually invested in understanding the drivers of individual behaviour and designing solutions that target these drivers.

With a mix of theoretical and practical work, this unit will enable students to understand individual behaviour in a way that identifies opportunities for change. It will take students through a process of unpacking public policy challenges and identifying real-life behavioural solutions. This involves prioritising behaviours and target audiences and understanding drivers of behaviour and potential solutions. Students will also learn to work collaboratively to design, test and evaluate behaviour change interventions.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Understand and evaluate selected theories of behaviour, including their historical roots, key conceptual notions, frameworks and current debates.
  2. Diagnose the motives and drivers of individual behaviour.
  3. Diagnose behavioural problems and develop prioritisation criteria and apply these to real-world scenarios.
  4. Critically evaluate and apply a range of behavioural interventions to target priority behaviours.
  5. Integrate principles for behavioural field trial interventions and analyse the effectiveness of these trials.
  6. Collaboratively design and effectively communicate potential behaviour change programs.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Contact hours equivalent to minimum 2 hours per week + Additional requirements for at least 10 hours of independent work.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study