School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Principles of Health Education & Behaviour Change (GENM0708)

image - Principles of Health Education & Behaviour Change


This is a six-unit general education course. It is designed to provide students from a range of disciplines with: (1) an understanding of theories and models of behaviour change; and (2) the opportunity to practice skills and strategies that impact health behavioural change. Particular emphasis is placed on improving competency in communication and decision-making to assist self and others with health concerns

Mode of study

External (Distance) and Internal (Face-to-Face) classes on campus.

Course aim

The aims of this course are to enable students to: gain an understanding of theories and models of behaviour change, develop core knowledge of health communication and health literacy, learn different social and cultural perspectives on the meaning of health, develop core knowledge of health education including its principles and concepts, and gain skills and strategies that impact health behavioural change.

Course Outcomes

On successful completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Differentiate between disease prevention, health promotion, health education, and wellness enhancement
  • Explain health promotion strategies, with particular reference to health education
  • Examine social and cultural perspectives of health and outline the role of social determinants
  • Distinguish between several philosophies of health education
  • Explain the theories and principles underlying health education
  • Understand health literacy and effective health communication
  • Outline the relationship between education and empowerment
  • Apply behaviour change and communication frameworks to solve real-life health issues
  • Critically analyse health education interventions and campaigns
  • Appraise the scientific literature on health behaviour change
Learning and teaching rationale

The content and approach to learning/teaching in this course enables students to bring about change, not only in their personal behaviour, but also in their social and organisational contexts. Students will gain the capacity to participate effectively in their social and physical environment to achieve optimal wellbeing. The course will increase individual autonomy and expand freedom of choice. During the course, students will also learn how to function effectively as equal and autonomous members of the healthcare teams they access, competent in their ability to address their own needs.  More importantly, the course will enable students to accept responsibility for their wellbeing and exercise choice to enact healthy lifestyle decisions. It is the instructor’s view that knowledge of principles of health education and behaviour change will enable students to acquire and/or enhance the social, problem-solving, and communication skills necessary to manage their own health in a variety of situations.


Assessment Task 1 - Participation
Weighting: 20%
Length: n/a

Assessment Task 2 - Essay
Weighting: 20%
Length: 700 words

Assessment Task 3 - Behaviour Change Project
Weighting: 40%
Length: 1500 words

Assessment Task 4 - Group Conference Presentation
Weighting: 20%
Length: n/a

Readings and resources
Learning resources for this course consist of the following:
  1. Course notes and readings
  2. Lectures slides (posted in Moodle)
  3. Lecture recordings (available in Moodle)
  4. Supplementary resources such as videos, podcasts (available in Moodle)