MCM 407: Message Design for Development

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, the students will:

  1. outline appropriate communication activities and media platforms for various development concerns and participant groups
  2. explain the concept of message development;
  3. discuss the purpose of messages to the communication objective and the participant groups;
  4. outline the importance of message design;
  5. explain the steps involved in message development;
  6. define pretesting;
  7. explain the reasons for messages and materials pretesting;
  8. discuss pretesting concerns;
  9. outline tips for effective pretesting;
  10. design of messages for various participant groups behavioural change communication activities (design and produce SBCC campaign materials, showcase the messages developed and pre-test them);
  11. pre-test messages designed and revise accordingly; and
  12. present the messages designed.
Course Contents

This course also explores ways messages can be used to educate people and encourage them to adopt and enjoy improved life styles using appropriate communication and media platforms. This is against the backdrop that in today’s contemporary society, the channels of communication are ever increasing. It covers the major steps involved in developing a state- of-the-art health and other development communication campaign materials; and focuses on communication channels and their importance. In particular, the five categories of communication channels – mass media, mid media, print media, social and digital media and interpersonal communication (IPC) will be explores and their advantages and disadvantages. It shall also explore how to select an appropriate channel mix for a communication response; appropriate channels for reaching specific audience segments; the concept of message development; purpose of messages to the communication objective and the participant groups; importance of message design; and steps involved in message development. Key topics include stakeholders and behavioural analysis, using theory and formative research to guide message strategies/concepts, pretesting messages with stakeholders, and reviewing demographic and market research data to inform channel/outreach approaches. All concepts shall be applied to a semester-long class project in which students conceptualize and design a health, population and any development issue campaign. Also, major SBCC campaigns in Nigeria shall also be critiqued; while the ways in which education can be subtly but effectively worked into both new and time-honoured genres of entertainment in order to foster positive behaviour change shall be examined, because throughout history, stories, drama, poetry, music, dance and other entertainment formats have been used to enlighten and educate both adults and children. Practicum shall be the production of evidence-based messages that respond to relevant needs in contextually appropriate ways. As such, students are expected to design and produce SBCC campaign materials, showcase the messages developed and pre- test them. The produced and pre-tested messages shall be revised accordingly.