Tips And Examples To Create Highly Engaging Online Compliance Training

08/08/2017

As we know, compliance training is carried out by organizations to ensure conformance to rules and guidelines enforced by governments and/or regulators.

Since the late nineties, these trainings are being offered in the online format. While the eLearning technology and learning strategies have changed significantly over these years to use more engaging and immersive learning approaches, the way online compliance courses continue to be designed leaves much to be desired.

Even today, they are often boring. Sure enough, they do get completed and attested by learners; but they do not necessarily meet the corporate mandate of being able to instill the spirit of “why comply” and trigger the required behavioral change.

At EI Design, our compliance practice (to offer engaging and high-impact online compliance training) is now 15 years old. In fact, one in every six courses that we create is for a compliance mandate.

The key value that our compliance practice offers is a series of measures to step up learner engagement through strategies that would eventually trigger the required behavioral change.

In this article, I share tips on how learner engagement for online compliance training can be stepped up. I also share two examples that showcase how you can achieve a high engagement quotient with your learners and achieve your mandate.

Despite The Accepted Significance Of Compliance Training, Why Do We See That Employees Are Not Engaged With Them?

There are several factors due to which employees tend to be disengaged with compliance training (to the degree that they often dread them). These include:

  • Compliance courses tend to be boring.

The content of most compliance programs is rather dry and has a rich share of dos and don’ts and the consequences of non-compliance to name a few. In other words, they tend to be preachy and prescriptive – couple of things adult learners do not like.

  • Lack of motivation.

Unlike other courses that help learners gain a new skill or reduce a proficiency gap, compliance courses are “mandated” by the organizations, and therefore, learners tend to lack intrinsic motivation to take them.

  • Lack of engagement.

Most online compliance training programs today follow a rather predictive approach of laying down the facts, policies, and impact of non-conformance and wrap up the training with a quiz. Often, the information is not provided in a format that can truly help learners relate to it, internalize it, and push them to do the right thing when faced with situations that need the desired action.

What Are Some Ways To Encourage The Employees To Comply?

I believe that we need to have a combination of approaches to ensure that we can eventually see the required behavioral change in the employees.

Here’s my list of four tips that can aid you in the process of this transformation:

Tip 1: Change The Tone And Approach

As adult learners, we respond better to an approach that lays down why we should be mindful of certain aspects, as there are associated consequences (for us as well as the organization) if we do not comply.

So, flip the learning approach and start your online compliance training by explaining:

  • Why do the specific guidelines exist
  • Why is it necessary to conform and what are the implications if we don’t
  • What are the consequences for the employees and the organization

At the learning strategy level:

  • Engage the learner first
  • Share the facts in a format that they can relate to and understand their gravity (and more significantly, their consequences)

Once this is done, then move to:

  • Dos and Don’ts: Avoid jargons and keep it simple and relatable.
  • Reinforcement: Put the learners in situations (dilemmas) to assess if they have truly internalized the learning.
  • Assessment: Push the validation of learning through questions that map to both levels of cognition (Understanding and Application). You can also opt for a series of questions that can build from the response of the previous question. This threaded approach of assessments not only keeps the learners engaged but also pushes the cognition levels to the desired level.

Tip 2: Give The Control Back To The Learners

All adult learners like to be in control. It doesn't hurt to provide the required flexibility to the learners through a combination of approaches, including offering courses on multiple devices (including smartphones and tablets) through mobile learning or mLearning.

This enables them to access the training on the device of their choice, when they want to (rather than when they are required to).

Tip 3: Use Innovative Formats

Today, you have a wide range of learning strategies to pick from. These approaches create a much higher engagement quotient and will help you see better completion rates within the stipulated time.

Some of the approaches we use include:

  • Gamification.
  • Partial gamification.
  • Microlearning.
  • Personalization.
  • Scenario-based learning.
  • Story-based learning.

Tip 4: Continue The Engagement After Completion Of The Formal Training

We need to eventually see the learners undergo the desired behavioral change to sustain the required compliance.

This can be achieved by adding components of Performance Support Tools (just-in-time learning aids or job aids) to your online compliance training to reinforce the learning.

These learning aids support the primary training and can be made available to the learners within their workflow. They work very effectively in reinforcing the message of the primary training. Additionally, they can be used to push the learners to take the required action.

What Can Be Done To Make Compliance Training Engaging For The Learners?

Before getting on to examples that showcase the techniques to step up the engagement quotient of online compliance trainings, it is important to watch out for what should not be done:

  • Avoid making compliance training a bitter pill that everyone must swallow.
  • Avoid preachy and prescriptive content as adult learners don’t like it.
  • Avoid presenting information in a boring or predictable eLearning format.

Now let us look at two examples that feature the key aspects of what I have outlined so far:

  • How can you achieve a high engagement quotient with the learners.
  • How can you increase the stickiness of learning through immersive strategies.

By Asha Pandey

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