Behavioural intent refers to an individual’s conscious or subconscious willingness to engage in a specific behaviour. It represents the internal motivation or predisposition that drives someone to act in a particular way. Behavioural intent is closely linked to attitudes, beliefs, and motivations, as these factors influence an individual’s decision to exhibit a certain behaviour.
In learning, behavioural intent refers to the desired actions or behaviours that are expected as a result of learners’ engagement with the learning material. It focuses on the specific behaviours or outcomes that the course aims to achieve from its participants.
By setting clear behavioural intent, instructional designers and educators establish the specific actions, skills, or knowledge they want learners to acquire or demonstrate. This allows for targeted instructional design, assessment, and feedback to foster the desired behaviours and facilitate effective learning outcomes.
Here are five ways that you can embed behavioural intent in your learning content:
Start by clearly defining specific learning objectives that outline the desired behaviours or outcomes. These objectives should be learner-focused and action-oriented, describing what learners should be able to do by the end of the course. By setting clear expectations, learners understand the expected behavioural intent and can align their efforts accordingly. It also means your content and activities are designed to match the objectives.
Design interactive scenarios that simulate real-world situations relevant to the course topic. These scenarios should require learners to apply their knowledge and skills to make decisions or solve problems. By presenting authentic situations, learners are encouraged to engage with the content and demonstrate the desired behaviours in a practical context.
Incorporate interactive activities that prompt learners to actively participate and demonstrate the desired behaviours. For example, quizzes, case studies, role-plays, simulations, or branching scenarios can be used to engage learners and provide opportunities for them to practise and apply the targeted behaviours. By actively engaging with the content, learners are more likely to internalise and exhibit the intended behaviours.
Provide immediate and constructive feedback throughout the course to guide learners towards the desired behaviours. Feedback can be in the form of automated responses, instructor feedback, or self-assessment tools. Additionally, encourage learners to reflect on their performance and consider ways to improve their behaviours. This reflection process helps reinforce the behavioural intent and supports self-directed learning.
Include assessments that focus on the application of knowledge and skills in real-world scenarios. These assessments should measure learners’ ability to demonstrate the desired behaviours and provide opportunities for them to showcase their understanding. By assessing learners’ performance based on the targeted behaviours, instructional designers can reinforce the importance of these behaviours and provide a clear indication of learner progress.
Suppose you are designing a course on effective communication skills, and one of the key objectives is to improve active listening abilities. The behavioural intent in this case could be to have learners actively engage in listening and demonstrate their understanding through appropriate responses.
To incorporate this behavioural intent into an interactive scenario, you could design a simulated conversation between two characters, where one character shares information or expresses a problem, and the learner takes on the role of the active listener. The learner would then have to respond appropriately, demonstrating active listening skills by paraphrasing, asking clarifying questions, or providing empathetic responses. You can make the scenario even more memorable by making it relevant to the learners. Use their language and setting to bring the scenario to life.
Throughout the scenario, you could provide feedback and guidance. For example, through choice outcomes that reinforce the importance of active listening and offer tips for improvement. By including this interactive scenario, the course encourages learners to actively engage in the desired behaviour of active listening and helps them develop this skill through practice and feedback.
Measuring behavioural intent can be challenging as it involves assessing learners’ attitudes, motivation, and their likelihood to exhibit specific behaviours. While it is not possible to directly measure someone’s intent, there are indirect methods that can provide insights.
Conducting surveys or questionnaires can help gather self-reported data on learners’ behavioural intent. These instruments can include Likert scale questions or open-ended prompts to assess learners’ attitudes, beliefs, and intentions regarding the desired behaviours. Analysing the survey responses can provide insights into learners’ inclination towards exhibiting the targeted behaviours.
By administering pre and post-assessments, you can evaluate learners’ knowledge and behaviours before and after a course. Comparing the results allows you to determine if there has been a change in learners’ behavioural intent as a result of their participation in the course. For example, if the course aims to improve communication skills, you can assess learners’ ability to engage in effective communication before and after the course.
Designing assessments that require learners to demonstrate the targeted behaviours can provide evidence of their behavioural intent. These assessments can be in the form of role-plays, simulations, or real-world projects where learners are evaluated on their application of the desired behaviours. You can also use observations, rubrics, or checklists to assess and measure the presence and quality of the intended behaviours.
In certain learning environments, it may be possible to track learners’ actual behaviours within the system. This can include tracking their engagement with specific activities, completion of tasks, or interaction with interactive elements. By analysing the data collected, you can gain insights into learners’ behavioural patterns, such as their frequency of participation or adherence to the desired behaviours.
Encouraging learners to provide qualitative feedback or engage in reflective activities can offer valuable insights into their behavioural intent. Achieve this through discussion boards, surveys with open-ended questions, or reflective journals. Analysing these qualitative responses can provide a deeper understanding of learners’ attitudes, motivations, and intentions related to the desired behaviours.
It’s important to note that measuring behavioural intent is not a precise science. Furthermore, the methods mentioned above provide indirect indicators rather than direct measurements. Combining multiple assessment methods can provide a more comprehensive understanding of learners’ behavioural intent in an eLearning context.
By having clear learning objectives, interactive activities, feedback, plus application-based assessments, you can embed behavioural intent in a course. Thus fostering active engagement, application of knowledge, and desired behavioural outcomes among learners.
Instructional designers can help learners better understand the expected outcomes by aligning course content and activities with specific behavioural intents. Learners can then actively work towards achieving those behaviours, resulting in a more effective learning experience.
Finally, measuring is important to understand whether the course has met its aim and fostered the desired change in behaviour. Use data to identify potential problem areas to address in future iterations of the course. In some cases, understanding those metrics can also help inform organisation-wide policy change.
You can create interactive learning scenarios easily and quickly with Near-Life. Additionally, give immediate feedback based on learner choices and provide a written, downloadable feedback report. All decisions are tracked so you can also see whether the learner is applying the learning. To find out more about how Near-Life can help you create learning scenarios with behavioural intent, book a demo.