How to create engaging compliance training

Historically, engaging learners with compliance training has always been a challenge. But there’s a range of strategies you can try that can change your learners’ attitudes and deliver measurable changes in behaviour.

By its nature, compliance training raises a number of specific challenges. Typically, it is mandatory and often driven directly by an external regulatory or legal requirement to demonstrate that a learner has met a prescribed standard of understanding or competence.

As a result, traditional compliance training often contains over-loaded pages with dense, legalistic text, multiple pop-ups to hide content, embedded policy links, attestations and/or an end-of-course test that you are locked into until you pass. This type of training is often referred to as ‘tick box’ or defensive training.

increasing learner engagement is key to effective compliance training

Eukleia’s Principal Consultant, Liz Hornby, recently joined colleagues at our sister company, LEO Learning, on a webinar all about compliance training.

In this blog, we take a look at just a few of the key insights from the webinar on different approaches to compliance training. These go beyond the traditional tick box approach and instead focus on how to engage learners and make your learning more effective.

1. Target behaviour change and harness the power of storytelling

To create real learner engagement, consider making your courses more practical by targeting behaviour change and using storytelling to generate powerful, emotional connections.

A behaviour change approach starts with understanding what behaviours your learners need to adopt to behave in a compliant way. And creating that behaviour change means getting your learners to really connect emotionally with the subject: Why should I do this? Why should it matter to me?

It’s about getting learners to think differently and then do something differently as a result of that shift in perception. We’ve found that one way of achieving behaviour change is to tell real stories or present true-to-life scenarios.

Scenarios put your learners at the centre of the action and challenge them to make decisions. Use branching scenarios to create genuinely challenging dilemmas which powerfully present the impact and consequences of critical decisions (good or less than ideal). This approach promotes reflection, exploration and gives learners an opportunity to see an issue from more than one perspective.

Storytelling is a great approach to increase learner engagement in compliance training

2. Avoid learner fatigue with diagnostic testing

We know that for many learners, compliance training is often an annual or even bi-annual commitment – and there may be a range of courses they have to complete. It’s also the case that learners moving between organisations can end up completing the same training even more regularly. Compliance training often has to be completed at the start of employment, regardless of how recently a learner may have completed it at their previous company or how well they know the subject.

Faced with this, even the most patient of learners is likely to become frustrated and disengaged. To maintain engagement and avoid frustrating your learners, think about taking a different approach to the design of your courses, specifically one that rewards learners for having and maintaining knowledge.

There’s a growing trend within compliance training for adaptive and personalised courses. Diagnostic testing, for example, positions the normal end-of-course assessment at the start of a course. Learners first complete the test and if they pass, they don’t have to complete the rest of the training. If learners fail, then areas of weakness are flagged and they are asked to complete certain topics of the course before trying the assessment again.

The only caveat to this approach is that it requires some time upfront to ensure the diagnostic approach is fit for purpose i.e. that the diagnostic assessment is suitably challenging. It should act as an effective knowledge filter; not everyone should be let off taking the course.

Diagnostics can also be used beyond the course to drive the content and focus of future training material by identifying knowledge gaps.

personalised learning paths are an effective way to increase learner engagement

3. Show you value your learners’ time with tailored learning paths

Beyond diagnostic learning, diagnostics can be used to further personalise courses by creating role-specific or tailored training paths through courses. This ensures your learners only get learning content that’s relevant and useful to them. An effective way to do this is to add a diagnostic or set of filters at the start of your course. This may ask learners to specify their:

  • Job role
  • Location
  • Time at the organisation (new starter or existing employee)
  • Department or specialism

Based on answers to these questions, the learning content in the course is then automatically tailored to best suit their requirements. Not only does this result in more relevant learning, it also demonstrates to your learners that you value their time and have made the effort to consider what information they really need. It also reduces ‘seat time’ and therefore saves time for the organisation as a whole.

Get more insights and tips on compliance training

Alongside learner engagement, the webinar looked at a range of other aspects of compliance training, including:

  • Key challenges
  • Design approaches
  • Measuring effectiveness and impact
  • The future of compliance training

To find out more about how to create effective, engaging compliance training, watch the webinar recording.


The original version of this blog post first appeared on the LEO Learning blog.

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