Persuasive Technology for Health Behaviour Change


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Contact HLLN:


ext: 22170

Health Leadership & Learning Network,
Faculty of Health

019 HNES Building
York University
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

Persuasive Technology for Health Behaviour Change

Over the course of three days, you will gain a deep understanding of behaviour change technology, learn to recognize roughly 50 persuasive design factors, and understand how to apply these principles to digital health campaigns, websites, social media, mobile apps or advertising. Finally, you will learn how to use digital research, to build interactive interventions that work.

This workshop will show you how to:

  • Apply behaviour change science and practice to your online health behaviour change technologies and campaigns, so that they can be truly evidence-based
  • Analyze and design more persuasive websites, social media profiles, online campaigns and apps
  • Critically assess digital technologies, so that you can describe why one technology is better or worse, in terms of its capacity to make an impact
  • Reverse engineer the key persuasion factors that make popular technologies successful. Then use the ideas for your own work
  • Improve your existing technologies or campaigns, by clarifying your persuasive architecture, identifying gaps, and finding new opportunities
  • Model complex multi-channel digital campaigns, and understand the types of strategies/messaging you will employ at each step in the process
  • Use common technology prototyping tools to model behaviour change technologies
  • Use iterative research to optimize your technologies to the point of high efficacy


This course draws on a combination of lectures, discussions, lab work, and hands’ on exercises where you will model interactive campaigns and your choice of behaviour change technologies, whether for the web, tablet, or mobile.


The scientific principles in this course primarily draw on scientific literature, while the applied modules, techniques and prototyping tools draw from a variety of practitioner sources. In this class, you will have a rare opportunity to learn both scientific theory and see how they are applied in practice, with tips and tricks of the digital marketing and interactive design trades.


By the end of this course, you will understand some of the key interactive design patterns that have been proven to influence health behaviours, and you will possess an arsenal of evidence-based design principles that will help you make better, and more impactful decisions. Then to help you implement your new knowledge, you will understand how to use a handful of interactive design tools, that you can apply to your next project. Additionally, you will learn to use a variety of online research tools, to help you fine-tune your online technology, through cycles of iterative development, assessment, and refinement.


Why does online engagement matter?

The world is going digital, and so is health promotion. With advancements in sensor and interactive technology, digital health interventions often blur the line between health promotion and service provision. There are many reasons for this trend, with one key factor being that online interventions can be twice as effective as traditional health behaviour change campaigns, with the average social marketing campaign impacting the behaviour of roughly 5% of the population [1], and online interventions, impacting roughly 10% [2]. This course will give you the perspective you need to not just make a smooth transition to the changing digital ecosystem, but to spot opportunities and understand their significance.


Who will benefit from this course?

This course is designed for persons who build and deploy health technologies or campaigns:

  • Tech savvy health promotion specialists
  • Interactive designers working in the health or safety field
  • Digital marketers or community managers promoting health
  • Communication specialists
  • Health technology developers
  • Researchers


Exclusive resources

The course will blend theory with practical, hands’ on exercises. Participants will learn to use Dr. Cugelman's 'Persuasive Design Toolkit', a system that packages the leading behaviour change theories and science within a framework that is easy to understand and apply. You will also receive a copy of all slides, exercise handouts, and checklists.


  • Snyder L. B. (2007). Health communication campaigns and their impact on behavior. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 39(2) S32-S40.
  • Cugelman, B., Thelwall, M., & Dawes, P. (2011) Online interventions for social marketing health behavior change campaigns: A meta-analysis of psychological architectures and adherence factors. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 13(1), e17.



“Brian’s workshop on ‘Health Behavious Change Websites and Campaigns’ was extremely comprehensive. It was nice to attend a workshop that touched on so many evidence-based aspects of persuasion and behaviour change. From process to practice, this course touched it all. Looking forward to seeing future research from Dr. Cugelman.”

Jason Haug, Program and Project Management Officer/Project Officer, Ottawa Public Health
Attended HBC in Ottawa 2014


“This is one of the only workshops I’ve attended, on any topic, that has given me practical skills and tools I can apply in my role as a professional communicator.”

Chris Sulymka, Communications Coordinator, University of British Columbia
Attended HBC in Vancouver 2014


“It’s hard to imagine someone more uniquely qualified and credible than Brian to guide on examination of where digital design principles and best practice for prompting behaviour change intersect.”

Ian Parker, Health Promotion Coordinator, Yukon Government
Attended HBC in Vancouver 2014


“Brian did a great job of presenting many interesting concepts backed by research.”

Shauna Gammon, Lead User Experience Designer/Product Manager, Ayogo, Inc.
Attended HBC in Vancouver 2014



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Next Program Date:

December 8-10, 2014

3-day program 9:00am - 5:00pm


4700 Keele St. York University campus


Registration Infromation:

Price: $850.00 plus applicable 13% hst per individual


Let us help you with affordability--Payment Plans are available for the course



If you are a non-profit or charity you may qualify for a discount, Please contact us for more information and price. Proof of non-profit status required, proof of employment in the organization required*. Group rate pricing restrictions may apply.

*Cannot be combined with any other discounts


Complete the REGISTRATION form and :

  • Fax to (416) 736-5078 or
  • Email:   or
  • Mail
  • Health Leadership & Learning
  • Network
  • Room 019 HNES Building
  • York University, 4700 Keele Street
  • Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

Group Rates : Please call for the rate 416-736-2100 x22170

Accommodation Information:

Schulich Executive Residence on Campus:

• The Executive Learning Centre features:
• 60 executive style guest rooms on 12 floors each with a queen size bed
• Complimentary high speed internet access
• In room coffee/tea maker
• Wheelchair accessible

Call Reservations (416)-650-8300

book on-line:

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Custom Program :

This program can be tailored to meet the needs of your organization and delivered on-demand and in-house. Savings can be significant. Contact us for more information

Phone: 416-736-2100 ext: 22170



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