2. Entry Behaviour
Entry behaviour includes the prerequisite knowledge,
attitudes or skills which the student already possesses
that are relevant to the learning task or subject matter
and that you may require students to demonstrate before
beginning your module. This includes previous education
and experience that the student brings to the new learning
context. The ultimate goal of the module being to advance
the student from where he is (entry behaviour) to where
you would like him to be (having mastered the learning
objectives or terminal behaviour). (Russell,
1974, p. 65)
A systematic approach for figuring out
the prerequisites for your course starts with your objectives
(see example below).
Given the description of a physical situation and
the necessary date, the student shall be able to
calculate the speed, velocity and/or acceleration
described. Acceptable performance includes giving
both the exact numerical answer and the proper units.
To determine the entry behaviour, you then ask yourself:
What must the student be able to do before he
begins this module?
Sample Prerequisites: When
given two of the three unknowns, the student should
be able to solve simple algebraic manipulations
of the following types:
x = y/z
x = y
x = y • z
x = y – z
Given a list of distances, displacements, speeds
and velocities, the student should be able to
properly identify each. Typical problems would
3 ft/sec is a _______
6.8 miles northwest is a __________
8 cm/sec2 is a _________
Avoid “there are no prerequisites for this module.”
This can mislead a student into thinking he can succeed
when, in reality, he may fail to complete the module
satisfactorily because of an insufficient entry behaviour.
Almost every module will have some prerequisite
1974, p. 65)
In a series of modules, like this online modular instruction,
the terminal behaviour of the first module is often
the entry behaviour for the second module and so on.
To see how these modules build on one another, see the
Prerequisite section for each of the
You can combine the Pre-test with an entry
test to verify that the entry behaviour or
prerequisites for a given module can be demonstrated
by each student before the start of the module. Since
we have followed Russell’s guidelines for constructing
criterion test items (Russell, 1974) quite closely,
the guidelines for constructing entry tests will be
Further Reflection and Application
With a particular course, workshop, etc. in mind that
you will soon be teaching, ask yourself the following
questions and write (type) a description of your target
- Who are the students taking the course?
- What is the total number of learners per group that
will be online at any one time?
- Where are they located?
- What previous knowledge or experience do they have?
- What specific entry skills do they have?
- What special interests do they have?
- What general motivation do they have?
- What special problems or concerns do they have?
- What will be the consequences of success and failure?
- What language(s) do they speak or want the instruction
- What time do the participants have available?
- What is their attitude toward information and communication
My Target Audience:
Using the same objective you created in a previous module
or another one that you will be using for an upcoming
course/teaching scenario, answer the following question:
What must the student be able to do before he begins