Cover Image
close this bookEffective Communications for Nutrition in Primary Health Care (UNU, 1988, 208 p.)
View the documentAcknowledgement
View the documentForeword
View the documentPreface
View the documentOpening address
View the document1. Nutrition in primary health care
View the document2. A framework for looking at nutrition communication needs in Asia
View the document3. The potential impact of nutrition education
View the document4. The use of ethnography in the development and communication of messages for modifying food behaviour
View the document5. Communication planning for effective nutrition programmes
close this folder6. A general approach to behaviour change
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentHow to use the worksheets
View the document7. The A-B-C model for developing communication to change behaviour
View the document8. Evaluation models for assessing the effects of media-based nutrition education
View the document9. Evaluating the impact of health education systems
View the document10. A suggested framework for a social marketing programme
close this folder11. An evaluation of the effect of a communication system on the knowledge of mothers and nutritional status of preschool children in rural Philippines
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentEvaluation
View the documentDiscussion
View the documentSummary
View the document12. Nutrition education and behaviour change project, Indonesian nutrition improvement programme
View the document13. Communication for behavioural change in Thailand: Radio v. Video van
close this folderCountry and project reports
View the documentBangladesh
View the documentEfficacy of nutrition education and training for rural populations in Bangladesh through appropriate communications
View the documentStatus report on nutrition communication activities in India
View the documentNutrition education in the Indonesian family nutrition improvement programme (UPGK)
View the documentA package of slides for a demonstration project of urban primary health care in the republic of Korea
View the documentCountry report on nutrition communication activities in Malaysia
View the documentNutrition communications in Nepal
View the documentSupplementary feeding and nutrition education in Pakistan
View the documentChild health care in the new China
View the documentSri Lanka
View the documentReport and recommendations
View the documentOther UNU titles of interest

7. The A-B-C model for developing communication to change behaviour

Development Communications Consultants, Inc., Oyster Bay, New York, USA


There may be some people in this world who are just "natural-born communicators" for behaviour change. I have not met more than one or two. But I suspect even they have their own systems and methods for bringing about behaviour change - some conscious and some unconscious. The rest of us need a system to use in our conscious effort to develop more effective communications. One such system is being organized by Development Communications Consultants, Inc. (drawing on the work of many authors, especially Robert F. Mager). Originally, the system was used in the private sector in the United States. It has since been applied and modified in communications projects at the Nutrition Center of the Philippines, and later applied in a pilot project at the Institute of Nutrition in Thailand. This report presents an overview of part 1 of the system.

It is called the "A-B-C Model for Developing Communications to Change Behaviour". It is useful to name the steps in the model in an alphabetical sequence so that they are easier to remember - it just so happened it could be done that way. The sequence of steps is not meant to indicate a strict sequential process, but rather a matter of sequential emphasis - many parts of the model overlap and interact with each other and there are several feedback loops.

Figures 1a and 1b show the model in flow-chart form. Each element is described in Appendix 1.


Here is how the model works. You have an idea, or a mandate, to develop some form of communication to change behaviour. This means that you already know, in general, what change you want to bring about and who your audience probably will be.

Next, you generally need to know more about your audience and to become much more specific about what you want to enable them to do. Although both processes go on together, initially the greater need is usually for more information about the audience. Before you define exactly what you want the audience to do in the future, you usually need to know exactly what they are already doing, and why they are doing it, as well as why they are not doing what it is you want them to do. In that way you will be less likely to try to change something that may work, or neglect to try to change something that will be an obstacle.

Fig. 1. The A-B-C model for developing communication to change behaviour (after Development Communications Consultants, Inc. [ 1] ).

Fig. 1b.


Who are those people whose practices you want to change? Who are they in general? i.e. old, young, rich, poor, functionally literate or illiterate, using medical facilities or local "healers," looking for better lives or accepting present conditions, fatalistic or believing in their power to change things, etc.? And who are they more specifically in relation to the behaviour change you want to bring about? What are their current practices, beliefs, resources, etc. ? You probably need to know these things, and many more, about your audience, to be able to change their practices effectively. An audience analysis tries to find out, as accurately as possible, everything you need to know to design a communication that will appeal to, motivate, and change your audience in the desired way. An audience analysis can also be used to test your assumptions about your target group.

You decide part of the audience analysis - that is, who your target group will be. Other factors that are not part of the specification of your target group, but may influence the design of your communication, need to be researched. There are two general types of information needed in an audience analysis: population description and entering behaviour description.

The population description covers the more general demographic characteristics of your audience, whereas the entering behaviour description deals with specific practices, beliefs, etc. related to the behaviour change being sought and the media being considered.


A population description covers general factors related to life-style and motivations. It usually includes such items as:


Age, education, training/apprenticeship, family size/make-up/ages, health status, sex, religion, pregnant/lactating, civil status, language/dialect.


Urban/rural, location, surroundings, land use (garden, livestock), type of dwelling, members, electricity, water sources, sanitation.


Income level, income sources, home activities, previous income sources.


Usual work of residents, land usage, available public transport, socio-economic status, health facilities, local workers for nutrition and/or health education.


Sources of information, staple food, food beliefs and superstitions, usual diet (by age groups), food practices, cooking practices/utensils, food availability, food preparation, food conservation/storage, nutritional status of family members.


Radio/TV ownership/availability, print literacy, meanings of signs and symbols, visual "literacy," colour meanings and preferences.


Spare-time activities, preferred vocation/avocation, group memberships.

Needs, Values, Goals

Perceived needs, aspirations, who is admired and why, sources of status, expectation.


A description of entering behaviour looks at factors more specifically related to the subject area of the communication to be developed and the behaviour to be changed. An entering behaviour description would include such factors as:


Current related practices, past related practices, related skills, related experiences, related training.


Related religious and socio-cultural values and beliefs, reasons for beliefs, what liked/ disliked about subject, reasons for changing past practices or beliefs, aspirations related to subject, reason for not practicing behaviour sought, perceived consequences of practicing behaviour sought, perceived consequences of current competing practices, perceived needs in relation to behaviour sought.


Related experience, hearsay, related fears, anticipated benefits.


Exposure to related topics, meaning of related signs and symbols, exposure to related media, preferences related to media/format.


Constraints (not available- money, time, materials, food, facilities, authority, etc.), resources (available - money, time, materials, food, facilities, authority, etc.).


Information needed to complete a population description and entering behaviour description can come from one or more of the following sources:

Secondary Sources

  1. Government census statistics; published survey data (similar studies, newspapers/ magazines, anthropological/sociological studies).
  2. Unpublished records/data (personnel files, institutional records, surveys, study findings).
  3. Resource persons (field-workers, political leaders, social scientists, teachers, etc.).

Primary Sources

  1. Observations of audience (structured/unstructured).
  2. Interviews of audience (structured/unstructured, individual/group, in-depth/limited).
  3. Mail survey of audience (where appropriate and feasible).

Rarely is all the information needed reliably available from secondary sources. Where practical, observation is usually the least biased source of further information (although, under certain circumstances, observation itself may change the behaviour being observed). Depending on how much you already know about your audience, you may want to do some basically unstructured observations at first. Unstructured observations may result in insights to help develop, at a later time, a more systematic structured observation. But, in the long run, since you want to be able to draw some general conclusions about your audience, you will need to collect information about a representative sample in a manner consistent enough to allow you to tabulate the results. This usually requires: the careful development and pre-testing of a structured observation form; a careful selection of the sample; and the training and supervision of observers, so that each observer will use the form and record the results in the same way.

Generally, there is a great deal of audience-analysis information needed that can only be collected by interviewing a representative sample of the audience. Information such as past experiences, values, future aspirations, reasons for doing things a certain way, etc., can only be collected by interview. Again, a combination of unstructured followed by structured interviewing may provide the best results in terms of balancing insights and generalizations. Of course, a good structured interview depends on a well-constructed and pre-tested questionnaire.

Generally speaking, for audience-analysis purposes, we have found that interview questions should be open-ended. This allows the audience the greatest range of response and provides the most new information. But, of course, the answers have to be grouped by similarity before the tabulation of results can be done.

A good questionnaire helps to get good information, but the way the questionnaire is used is just as important as the way it is written. Complete and accurate results depend on the interviewer's skills in getting the respondents' co-operation, in asking the questions, in listening, and in recording the answers. Interviewers need to be well trained and supervised.

Assume you have assembled all your information on the audience from secondary sources, observations, and interviews. This audience analysis is not intended to be a statistical study or evaluation. It is meant to give a general profile of your audience on characteristics relevant to the behaviour change you wish to bring about and the methods and media you might use. Some obvious examples: If you find that a significant percentage of your audience is functionally illiterate, written materials are precluded. If they believe eating fish causes worms in children, you cannot teach them to give their children fish without trying to address that belief.


Audience analysis (original behaviour) - Communication (process to bring about change) - Behavioural objectives (behavioural change sought)

The audience analysis tells what the members of your intended target audience already do. It is what the audience does before they see and/or hear the communication to be designed.

The behavioural objectives define what it is you want the audience to be able to do after they have seen and/or heard the communication.

The communication you will design is the process that will change the behaviour of the audience. In order to design a communication for behaviour change you need to know not only what it is you want to change, but also what new behaviour you want to bring about. The behavioural objectives are the result you want from your communication. The communication can then be designed to try to bring about that result. If the result (the behavioural objectives) is well analysed and defined, then the correct message (communication) can be more effectively designed. Incomplete or unclear behavioural objectives may lead to an incomplete and unclear communication. Behavioural objectives are best defined in a co-operative effort of communication designers and subject-matter experts.

Usually, the overall behavioural goal of a communication is made up of many smaller behaviours. However, just like a complex machine, e.g. an automobile, a complex behaviour can be divided into smaller and simpler parts.

Consider that car for a moment. So nothing is lost and so we do not forget how the parts work together. we could take it apart in a very orderly fashion. First we could divide it into three or four main subassemblies: the body, the engine, and the wheel assemblies.

Each of these parts is still somewhat complicated, so more subdivisions are needed. First, the engine. It can certainly be divided into engine block and cooling system. (Although I am not very knowledgeable about cars, I like this analogy, so please bear with me.) We can then subdivide the cooling system into fan and radiator; and the fan could be disassembled into fan blades, fan belt, and turning shaft.

Fan blades, fan belt, and shaft are fairly simple and easy to understand. So are tyres, wheels, exhaust pipe, etc. It is only as the parts are put together that the units become complex and more difficult. But, of course, it is only when the car is fully assembled that it will take us anywhere.

We have found this same process very valuable in breaking down complex behaviours into simpler parts that are easier to shape and establish. We take the one overall behavioural goal we are seeking, and break it down into its main component parts. For example, maybe your overall goal would be to change your audience so they would "prevent a child with diarrhoea from becoming dehydrated." Such a goal could first be broken into its general parts: "Recognize when child has diarrhoea" and "Give child rehydration drink after each movement."

Now suppose we took the latter objective and broke it down. We might get: prepare rehydration drink, encourage child to take drink, and determine each time child has movement.

Taking the first item in the list above, it can be further broken down into the steps necessary to prepare the rehydration drink: use cooled boiled water; mix 2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons sugar in 1 litre water; and measure one dose with standard drinking glass.

If we have learned in the audience analysis that our audience already boils their drinking water, and has readily available the ingredients and measuring devices, we could stop here (recognizing that this example refers to only one branch of the analysis). But in many areas we would need to continue breaking down even these behaviours until we have defined behaviours the audience can perform. (And, we may have to do some testing with a representative sample of the audience to find out what behaviours they can perform and which are the best for them [1].)

We have found that the most useful behavioural objectives result from progressively breaking down more general behaviours into simpler levels. The hierarchy form we use for breaking down behavioural objectives into their separate component parts is shown in figure 2.

At each level in defining objectives, in order to reach the next lower level we ask ourselves the key question: "What does the audience have to be able to do to accomplish that?"

This helps us not only to define the component behaviours, but also to identify where motivation comes into the picture. Most rural mothers know how to boil water, but they may need to be motivated before they will do it for drinking water. We include in our objectives special "say" objectives related to motivation.

Let me explain what I mean by say objective. We are talking about behavioural objectives and there are two basic kinds of human behaviours. People can say something or they can do something. Thinking. understanding, knowing, etc., are not defined as behaviours. Behaviour is defined as something a person does that is observable and measurable.

Fig. 2. Behavioural objective form.

And, because it must be observable and measurable. two independent judges must be able to come to the same conclusion regarding whether or not a given behaviour has occurred.

People are more likely to do something if they see value in it - a potential good result. They are less likely to do it if they see no value or a potential bad result. We can help to ''motivate'' behaviour by persuading the audience that the behaviour will lead to a good result and not to no result or to a bad one. Since behavioural objectives must be observable and measurable, the closest we can come to "motivation" objectives is to use say objectives relating to expectation of a good result from doing the behaviour. For example, if the audience are asked the value of oral rehydration they will say: "If water lost during diarrhoea is replaced immediately the child will be more likely to recover.



Content is a natural outgrowth of the hierarchy system of breaking down objectives. In the lowest levels of the breakdown, content appears; for example: "Mix 2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, I litre water." These specific amounts and ingredients are some of the "content," or facts and figures, that need to be used to accomplish the overall goal.


Criteria for success specify the results that must be attained for you to be satisfied that the overall goal has been reached. These can be expressed in terms of: a designated percentage of the audience who must be able to do or say something under given conditions with a designated per cent of accuracy, and/or a specified amount of a measurable effect that the new behaviour must bring about.

Generally speaking, the fewer the criteria for success the better, on the assumption that simpler is better. If you really have one well-defined overall goal, then one to three well-conceived criteria for success are usually enough. We are talking here only about final criteria for success, not interim criteria.

Even though we have great aspirations to cure the world of all its ills, it is important to set realistic criteria for success. Certainly, if we are training airline pilots for commercial passenger plane service, or heart surgeons to do open-heart surgery, we do not want to settle for less than 100 per cent accomplishment of our goal. But in the realm of development, and the changing of child-rearing practices, every little bit counts.

Criteria for success are used to provide guidance in attaching priorities to each behavioural objective and determining how to allocate resources in the attainment of the objectives. They are not meant to be exercises in wishful thinking leading to inevitable failure and disappointment. The most useful criteria for success are "challenging but attainable."

Examples of criteria for success might be, after a specified "dose" of the communication within the audience:

  1. When asked what to do if a child has diarrhoea, 70 per cent of mothers will indicate that they will give some sort of extra fluids.
  2. When asked when, how often and how much they will give, 70 per cent of mothers in 1 above will indicate one drinking glass (or equivalent) after each movement.
  3. When asked to mix a sample of a good drink to give to a child with diarrhoea, 50 per cent of mothers will mix 2 teaspoon salt with 2 tablespoons sugar in 1 litre of water (either boiled or that the mother indicates should be boiled) or an equivalent.

Alternatively, after a specified "dose" of the communication, in a survey of households where there is a child with an active case of diarrhoea:

  1. Thirty per cent of mothers will have oral rehydration fluid ready at the time of the observation.
  2. Of those not falling into 1 above, when asked to make an oral rehydration drink for their child with diarrhoea, 50 per cent will mix 2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons sugar in 1 litre of boiled water (or an equivalent recipe).
  3. Of mothers in 1 and 2 above, 70 per cent will give one drinking glass of rehydration drink after each movement that occurs during the observation period.

Again, using a single criterion for success, after a specified "dose" of the communication within the audience, diarrhoea mortality rates will be reduced by 20 per cent compared to a control group.


Criticality refers to the importance of each behavioural objective in reaching the criteria for success that you have set. We use a simple ranking method of I to IV:

I = Critical to reach criteria for success.
II = Very important to reach criteria for success.
III = Important, but not absolutely necessary to reach criteria for success.
IV = Useful, but not necessary to reach criteria for success.

Obviously, objectives ranked I and II will receive more time, effort, and resources in the design of the communication than those ranked III or IV. The number and type of objectives to be addressed in a communication will depend on: stringency of criteria for success, time and resources available, and media used.


After you have completed your audience analysis and behavioural objectives, including content, criteria and criticality, you know what your audience does and why. You are quite definite about what you want to enable them to do in the future. But how do you change their behaviour?

The next step in the "A-B-C Model" is to perform what we call a "systems analysis." In the systems analysis you try to look more closely at why the audience is not now doing what it is you want them to do. Is it because they cannot - they do not know how? Is it because they will not - they know how, but they do not want to do it? Is it a combination of cannot and will not? Or is it that they should not do it - because they lack the resources or authority?

''Cannot" most often happens when the objectives call for totally or partially new behaviour, something the audience has never done before. Preparing an oral rehydration drink for the first time. or cooking a new type of food or recipe, might be examples. They simply need an opportunity to learn and practice the behaviour, preferably under circumstances where they can receive feedback regarding their performance. We will get back to that later.

People usually "will not" do something they can do because they see no benefit there is a benefit for not doing it - or because they fear a bad result if they do it. For example, most mothers can breast-feed. However, in rural Asia, most mothers do not breast-feed immediately after birth; some even wait days. Suppose your objectives called for breast-feeding immediately after delivery. What would be some of the reasons why mothers were not already practicing this? If you researched this, you might find that they see no value in it. They feel that the milk would not yet be flowing and they may think that colostrum is useless or harmful. Furthermore, they may receive the disapproval of elders or others if they do this new thing, and receive approval for following the old ways. So, to change their behaviour, perhaps these mothers need an opportunity to learn about the value of colostrum and early suckling as well as reassurances about approval for their behaviour.

Of course, "cannot" and "will not" usually occur together. "Cannot" refers to skills and "will not" to motivation. Usually we are trying to reach objectives that require both new skills and the motivation to learn and practice them.

"Should not" objectives refer to behaviours the audience does not have the resources or authority to perform. A typical case of "should not" would be objectives for tenants to build water-sealed toilets if, in fact, they do not have the permission of their landlord. When "should not" objectives are identified, it is necessary to go back and change the behavioural objectives to something the audience can realistically be expected to do - or change the audience.

"Should not" objectives need to be changed. "Cannot" and "will not" objectives call for learning and motivation strategies.

One theory of behaviour change (based on B.F. Skinner [2] ) says that all behaviour is elicited by a stimulus. The behaviour is called the response, and the response that is followed by a reward or reinforcement is more likely to be repeated.

Stimulus - Response/reinforcement

The "A-B-C Model" loosely applies this theory. Regardless of the media finally selected, strategies for behaviour change give the audience information that will generally enable them to answer a question (say something) or perform a task (do something) based on a behavioural objective. The system then provides for some kind of feedback or reinforcement dependent on the response. The closer the stimulus used and the response elicited are to the actual circumstances and behaviour sought in the objective, the more powerful should be the result. Often this is achieved by a series of interactions that, step by step, shape the behaviour sought.

Usually, the reinforcement we have available to us as communicators is feedback that the audience has answered or acted correctly and, of course, praise for correct answer or act. (In cases where a game is part of the communication, winning the game can also be reinforcement.) However, feedback or praise on a correct performance may not be very reinforcing if the performance seemed too easy or meaningless to the audience. Most people seem to remember best, and take most satisfaction in, something they figure out for themselves. The most effective communication, then, may be communication that leads the audience to figure things out for themselves in such a way that:

  • the problem is meaningful to the audience;
  • the audience is challenged at the level that satisfies them;
  • the audience is usually right.

Appendix 2 lists twelve strategies we use to design such communications. These strategies are neither exhaustive nor mutually exclusive. They can be applied to most media; however, the examples given are all from video tape. Please notice that nowhere in the strategies does it say: "Tell them what to do and then ask them what you just told them." Such a strategy would probably not be very meaningful or satisfying.

It is often useful to test these strategies when applied to specific behavioural objectives. You can test to find out if the audience understands your analogy, draws the conclusion you want them to, makes the generalization you are looking for, gets the answer with the prompt you designed, finds it too easy or difficult, etc.


Suppose you know a very good cook. This cook is given an old and dented pot to cook in. Will the food he cooks taste bad? Probably not. Now suppose you know a perfectly awful cook. This cook is given a beautiful new stainless steel and aluminium, copper-core, Teflon-coated pot. Will the food he cooks now taste good? Not very likely, although he may not burn it easily.

If we think of the recipe as the message and the pot as the medium, we may have a similiar situation. If the message is poorly designed, no medium or media mix is going to make it effective. However, if the message is well designed for any of several media, alone or in combination, it may be effective.

But, of course, there is more to it than that. No matter how good the cook may be, he cannot roast a whole pig in a saucepan. The point is that certain media are better suited for certain messages, audiences, and circumstances. But there does not seem to be any generally superior medium or media mix.

First, it depends on the skills and attitudes of the audience in relation to the available media. Are they literate? Are they visually literate and at what level? How do they want this information? Which media are most believable to them?

Second, it depends on the size and dispersion of the audience. Are we targeting a small group or most of the population? Are they spread out or concentrated? Which media are accessible to the audience now or in the near future?

It depends on the nature of the stimuli called for in our objectives. If we want to teach mothers to recognize what a malnourished child looks like, we should use media that include visuals. If we want her to respond to some behaviour of her child, visuals with motion would probably be more effective. If we need to move her emotionally to motivate her, a medium close to reality, such as colour video tape, will probably work best. If we want her to follow instructions for mixing oral rehydration fluid whenever her child has diarrhoea, we might want to include in the media mix an illustrated instruction sheet or poster for her to take home.

Although it depends on local resources, both financial and technical, media probably should not be judged so much on their cost as on their cost-effectiveness for a given job. Inexpensive pamphlets that do not work are much more costly than a more expensive film that does work. Also, what was "'high tech" last year is likely to be ' appropriate technology" next year. Costs of technology and the required sophistication for use are coming down fast, especially in the electronics field. In television, non-professionals with a few thousand dollars' worth of equipment can do now what used to require a team of professionals with hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of equipment to do. Equipment that used to fill a television controlroom now hangs around the neck of tourists making video "home movies."

Media selection also depends on the nature of the responses we want the audience to be able to make and the nature of the reinforcement we want to be able to give. Table I lists the various media with examples of passive and interactive formats. The distinction meant between passive and interactive is that interactive formats elicit designed responses and provide feedback, passive do not.

Table 1. Communication media- passive and interactive

Literacy required


Media Passive Interactive
1. Print
! (a) Words only Pamphlet Instruction sheet Book Programmed instruction
(Visual literacy


(b) Pictures only (illustrations, photos, diagrams, cartoons, etc.) Poster or calendar Illustrated pamphlet
Illustrated instruction sheet
! (c) Words (and person) Case study Case study with discussion
! (d) Words and pictures Poster or calendar
Photo novella
Illustrated pamphlet
Illustrated instruction sheet
Illustrated programmed
Computer-based programmed instruction
! (e) Words, pictures (and person) Flip chart Flannelboard Poster or calendar with check boxes
Flip chart with interaction
2. Audio
  (a) (Used alone) Radio
Tape cassette
Language lab
! (b) Audio and print   Tape and workbook
Radio forum
3. Audio-visual
  (a) No motion Slide/tape
Film strip/tape
Slide/tape and workbook
Computer mediated communication
  (b) With motion Motion picture/film Video tape Broadcast TV Video tape and workbook Computer-mediated communication
  (c) Person and no motion medium Slides interaction Overhead transparencies Slides with interaction

Overheads with interaction

  (d) Person and motion medium   Interactive videotape
4. Person(s)
  (a) (Only) Lecture
Lecture-discussion Interactive tutorial "Conversation"
  (b) With materials Demonstration
Demonstration/return demon stration
Puppets with interaction

Generally speaking, the closer the media are to reality the more effective they will be. If the mothers could be guided in their own homes to perform all the behaviours we want and given reinforcement on the spot, then there would be little problem of ''transfer of learning." Of course, this is rarely possible, first because of the time and cost involved in such one-to-one tutoring, and second because of the quality-control problem regarding the change agents. Performance inevitably varies greatly among change agents and from day-to-day for the same change agent. But posters, audio tapes, slides, and video tapes give the same performance from place to place and day to day.

Which of the media can come closest to ideal tutoring in the home? Probably a mix of media, including a change agent who can provide interaction and reinforcement and whose performance is made more consistent by being supported by other media. The change agent can also adapt the message to local needs and provide feedback to the designers. Often such a system will include video tape because, of all the "prepackaged" media, video provides the greatest reality, provided that it is taped to give a context with which the audience can identify.


In the "A-B-C Model," development refers to media production. It is part 2 of the model. Even to summarize the production system for all media would be well beyond the scope of this paper. However, I do not want to end this report without stressing the importance of developmental testing (pre-testing of communication materials with small sample groups representative of the target audience). Regardless of the media used, the best results are only possible after a strong cycle of testing and revision based on such factors as:

  1. The extent to which the audience can reach behavioural objectives before receiving the communication.
  2. The extent to which the audience can reach the behavioural objectives after receiving the communication.
  3. The extent to which the results in 2 would lead to expectations of reaching the criteria for success.
  4. How many members of the audience can get the interactions correct and to what degree (where there is interaction).
  5. What the audience liked or disliked about the communication system - media, logistics, moderator, etc.
  6. What the audience liked or disliked, believed, or disbelieved about the message content, format, characters, etc.
  7. What the audience remembered best about the communication.

No matter how well we design a message and produce it, we cannot expect to guess perfectly the reactions of the audience or what they will understand or misunderstand or view differently from what we intended. Any developmental test that does not show results requiring some revisions is probably an inadequate developmental test. Only by being willing to test objectively and revise and test and revise again can we reach the potential for behaviour change of our selected strategies and media mix.

Even so, it is difficult to change behaviour and then maintain that change. It is probably especially difficult to change food habits. They are influenced by so many factors: cultural, economic, political, health-related, geographic, agricultural, psychological, etc. Obviously, much more needs to be learned about how to orchestrate all these factors in support of healthful eating habits. The model in this report offers one rather narrow approach. It is still under development. It is offered for discussion, criticism, and most of all, improvement.


1. M. Griffiths, Mothers Speak and Nutrition Educators Listen (Manoff International, Inc., Washington, D.C., 1980).

2. B.F. Skinner, The Behavior of Organisms: An Expenmental Analysis (Appleton-CenturyCrofts, New York, 1968).


Mager, R.F. Preparing Instructional Objectives. Fearon, Palo Alto, Calif., 1970.

-. Instructional Module Development. Mager Associates, Los Altos Hills, Calif., 1977. Mager, R.F., and P. Pipe. Analyzing Performance Problems. Fearon, Palo Alto, Calif., 1970.

-. Criterion Referenced Instruction. Mager Associates, Los Altos Hills, Calif., 1979. Schramm, W. Big Media, Little Media. Sage Publications, Inc., Beverly Hills, Calif., 1977.


APPENDIX 1. Elements of the A-B-C Model

A. Audience Analysis

Every communication has a receiver - someone whose behaviour you want to change (inform, persuade, entertain, etc.). Before you can efficiently and effectively change someone you must know what the individual is like. You need to know your audience in general: age, income, education. Iiving conditions. etc. And you need to know the practices, ideas, motives, etc. in relation to the change you wish to make and the media you wish to use.

B. Behavioural Objectives

Every communication has a purpose - the change you wish to bring about. Change in what someone does is a change in behaviour. When you want to change what your audience does, the change you want your communication to cause is a behavioural objective. In order to create a communication that will bring about the change you wish to make in what your audience does, you need to decide very specifically what it is you want the audience members to be able to do after receiving the communication. That is, you need to develop very detailed behavioural objectives.

C1. Content

Content is simply the facts you use to convince or instruct your audience. Your behavioural objectives will lead you to select the relevant and complete content you need to reach your objectives.

C2. Criteria for Success

Criteria for success are ways to tell if your audience has indeed changed in the way you wanted. Criteria are used to clarify and prioritize your objectives. Criteria are also used to determine the measures to be used in evaluating the effectiveness of the communication.

C3. Criticality

Using your criteria for success, you can attach priorities to each behavioural objective. You do this by determining the relative importance of each objective in reaching the criteria for success. These priorities will enable you to make better decisions regarding the resources (time, money, effort) you devote to each behavioural objective in preparing your communication.

D1. Design

You need to determine how you will bring about the behaviour change you want in your audience. This involves: systems analysis, the analysis of the sources of the behaviour you wish to change. Does the audience not do what you wish because they do not know how to do it (cannot), they know how but do not want to do it (will not), or because there are constraints in their environment that make it impossible or impractical for them to do it (should not). Strategy selection is the selection of learning and/or motivation techniques to be used to reach each behavioural objective. The strongest strategies generally involve active participation or interaction of the audience with the communication material and some sort of reward or feedback based on each interaction. Strategies can be tested with a small sample of the target population before finalizing. And, of course, design includes media selection, the determination of the media needed to implement your strategies within the financial, technological, and other constraints of your project. When you know where your audience is starting (audience analysis) and where you want them to finish (behavioural objectives), then you can plan an effective route (design).

D2. Development

With the previous steps completed, you are ready to prepare the communication material you will use. This involves: format development (deciding on the story-line, concept, or approach you will use to carry your message); visualizing and/or scripting (preparing a story-board, layout or treatment and, evolving from this, a script and/or final specifications for the message); pre-production preparation (planning, scheduling, and budgeting how you will implement your script or specifications); production (the actual setting of type, preparing of graphics, shooting of pictures, recording of sound, and the process of assembling the pieces into a finished poster, booklet, slide-tape show, audio tape, film, video tape, etc.); developmental testing (trying out your draft communication on a small group of people representative of your audience and determining what they do or do not understand, accept, or like, and why, and revising your materials on the basis of your findings).

D3. Dissemination

Once you have a well-designed and well-produced communication that has been tested and revised until it has a good chance of bringing about the change you want, you simply need to deliver it to its intended audience in a manner that will enhance rather than detract from its effectiveness. This involves channel or site selection and maintenance of quality-control standards.

E. Evaluation

This is the moment of truth. Is your communication really reaching the target audience? Is the change you wanted really taking place? To what extent are the criteria you set being reached? Is the project worth continuing? You need to design a system of objective measures, implement them in a manner so as not to bias the results, and then analyse the results. These results can help you to improve not only this communication but also the next one you design.


APPENDIX 2. Learning and Motivation Strategies

1. Discovery/Logical Conclusion

Learner is exposed to certain information and then asked to make a decision that logically follows from that information.


(Audience analysis has shown that the mothers do not feed their children fish because they think it causes worms.) Worm life-cycle is taught. Children are shown playing in the dirt known to have worm eggs. Dirt is seen under the children's fingernails. Children with dirt under their fingernails are shown eating fish with their hands. Question is asked of audience: What do you think causes worms, fish or dirty hands? Logic compels the answer: dirty hands. a

2. Analogy/Logical Conclusion

The audience is reminded of something they are familiar with that works on the same principles as the idea being taught. They are then asked to draw conclusions from the new information based on the analogy.


Audience is shown a simple grinding stone and is told that the first immunization is like a simple grinding stone - it cannot work alone. Then the audience sees the second grinding stone put in place and flour being made. They are told that the second immunization is like the second grinding stone. They are asked If each one immunization is like the one grinding stone, then how many immunizations does your child need to be protected? Logic leads to the answer: two. a

3. Specification

Learner is given general principle and asked to apply it by giving specific examples.


Children should be given green leafy vegetables every day for good eyesight. Name some specific vegetables you could give to your child today to help his eyesight. a

4. Generalization

Learner is given specific examples and asked to conclude the general rule.


Audience is asked to look at the behaviour of several malnourished children and asked what it can say about how maluourished children behave. a

5. Observation No. 1. Description

Audience looks at certain conditions and reports what it saw.


Audience is shown the reaction of a two-year-old child when younger sibling gets all the attention, and is asked to describe how the two-year-old reacted. b

6. Observation No. 2. Comparison

Audience looks at two or more sets of conditions and reports differences and/or similarities.


Audience is shown a malnourished and a well-nourished child, side by side, and asked to describe the differences it sees. b

7. Observation No. 3. Modelling of Desired Behaviour

This is a special case of observation: description/comparison. Here what is being observed is the behaviour to be taught. The audience is asked to observe and describe this correct behaviour or some of its elements.


Audience watches mother prepare aspirin to give a young child with a fever. Audience is asked to describe how they prepare aspirin for a young child with a fever. a

8. Prompting

The audience is helped to get the correct answer by being given clues.


Audience is shown the "3 plus 1" food groups and the ingredients of a child's food. The ingredients are put into three of these groups. The audience is asked what group is missing from the ingredients. (The prompt is the fourth group in the visual.)b

9. Fading

Previously elicited and reinforced behaviour is asked for again with less supporting information or fewer prompts.


Audience is shown a meal with no protein source and asked what food group should be added to make this a complete meal. (Later two food groups are missing, then three.)a

10. Personal Opinion, Preference, Feeling, Experience, or Data

Audience is asked to give opinions or preferences, tell some personal feeling or experience, or give data about themselves or their children (such as age, names, etc.)

This strategy is used for the first interaction of a programme. The subject-matter chosen should be non-threatening to the audience but something they might like to talk about. The purpose is to: 1. Have an opportunity to reinforce the audience for responding. 2. Introduce the subject of the module.


What are some of your child's favourite foods?

11. Public Commitment

Audience are asked to commit themselves regarding some attitude, opinion, or practice that is being shaped by the module. This is done in order to strengthen that attitude, opinion, or practice.


After being taught the value of breast-feeding immediately after birth, mothers are asked when they want to start breast-feeding after the birth of their next child. b

12. Performance of Entering Behaviour

Audience are asked to do or say something that they already know how to do or say. This is used only if:

  1. The entering behaviour is weak and needs to be reinforced.
  2. The entering behaviour is part of a logical sequence of interactions leading to a strong type of interaction.

a. Video tape made at the Nutrition Center of the Philippines.
b. Video tape made at the Institute of Nutrition in Thailand.