Content grouping: A fresh approach to driving learner engagement in compliance training

At Eukleia, we’ve come to understand that learner engagement is key to achieving real impact with compliance training. And that’s why we’re always looking at new approaches to designing engaging compliance training, including one effective approach: content grouping.

The following is an edited excerpt from our ebook, ‘5 approaches to creating engaging compliance training’.

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Put simply, when learners are engaged they learn better and retain knowledge for longer. Engaged learners are also more likely to change their behaviours and support the ethical cultures we know that regulators are now looking for.

The challenge of delivering engaging compliance training

But increasing learner engagement can be tricky, and it’s historically always been a bit of a challenge with compliance training for a number of reasons:

  • Subject matter: Training has struggled to relate compliance themes to learners’ daily roles and the sense of shared responsibility in getting it right.
  • Mandatory nature: Compliance training is usually mandatory and many learners have to do it a few times a year, as well as each time they start at a new firm. This makes it seem like a ‘chore’ that has to be tolerated.
  • Bad reputation: Unfortunately, poorly designed compliance training has often been the norm for many learners. And even when designers have the best intentions, legal teams and overly keen subject matter experts often insist on packing training with as much information as possible. The result is dry, overly-dense and very long training.
  • Training volume: The amount of training learners have to complete on what are often closely related topics and regulations can be significant. And then they have to do it again in a year’s time.

With such an uphill battle, it’s perhaps understandable that the goal of engagement is often deprioritised in favour of simply getting the training out and completed. Box ticked – next.

But there is a range of ways you can drive engagement with your compliance training – one of the design approaches we’re currently using, to great effect, is ‘content grouping’.

Content grouping versus microlearning

As mentioned above, we know that one of the barriers to learner engagement with compliance training is the fact that many learners have to complete a range of separate compliance courses on different topics. This volume of training, often amounting to many hours each year, can understandably lead to learner fatigue and ultimately, a steep drop-off in engagement.

Microlearning (delivering multiple short ‘bites’ of learning content) is an effective learning strategy in a lot of cases, especially if you’re striving to make learning as concise as possible. But counter-intuitively, when it comes to compliance training, we’ve found that the opposite approach tends to be effective at driving learner engagement. Because of the issue of training volume, condensing a range of courses into a single overarching ‘mega’ course is often a much more palatable and engaging way for learners to complete their compliance training.

Additionally, this approach also leverages the fact that many compliance topics share a common set of desired learning outcomes, particularly around behaviour change. Creating a single course avoids repetition in content but allows you to explore behaviours in greater depth. Many of the most important behavioural shifts we hope to embed as a result of training – for example, speaking up and questioning suspicious behaviour or activity – are behaviours we want to see in a range of different risk areas, from money laundering and financial crime to conduct and information security.

By grouping courses together, you can explore and interrogate these behaviours in different ways and contexts across a single course, helping to drive real behaviour and culture change in your organisation.

Learner engagement and content grouping in action

The following diagram shows how a single course can be designed to group together a range of different compliance topics.

Table demonstrating how content grouping can drive learner engagement on compliance training

Originally, the learners at this organisation were taking 14 x 30 minute courses, a total of seven hours learning time. But with a combined course approach, they are now looking at a total learning time of around two hours.

You can see that each topic combines related regulations and risk areas together – for example, the Financial Crime course covers Anti-Money Laundering as well as Tax Evasion and Sanctions. These would otherwise be separate courses. This approach not only streamlines the training time but also means learners can explore rules and regulations in context and understand how appropriate behaviour and conduct support compliance with these rules.

Additionally, by combining all of these topics into a single course, we can utilise the concept and benefits of spaced learning. This is achieved by surfacing and testing understanding of earlier learning points in later modules. For example, in the Financial Crime topic, we are including a scenario on a Market Conduct issue which appears in the first topic. This serves to reinforce key learning points and helps to combat the ‘forgetting curve’.

Discover more ways to create engaging compliance training

Content grouping is just one of the innovative approaches our learning design team is using to drive learner engagement.

For more insights, download our ebook, ‘5 approaches to creating engaging compliance training’ to discover more ways to design compliance training that really resonates with learners, including:

  • Personalisation and adaptive learning
  • Scenarios and storytelling
  • New approaches to assessment
  • Learning analytics

Image of London's financial district where content grouping may be used in compliance training

Get your free copy of ‘5 approaches to creating engaging compliance training’.

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