Engaging compliance training: Scenarios and storytelling

Scenarios and storytelling are highly effective when it comes to learner engagement. They challenge, offer instant feedback and test the ‘grey areas’. We look at how you can build this approach into your compliance training, priming your learners to apply their knowledge when faced with real-life scenarios.

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

Scenarios and storytelling

We often combine the use of scenarios and stories with the design approaches we’ve already explored. But they are worth exploring in more detail on their own because of their critical role in driving up learner engagement and supporting behaviour change.

Scenarios are a highly effective way of driving learning engagement because they provide a real sense of challenge. And with a complex branching scenario, they also enable you to create a much more immersive learning experience using storytelling techniques to create real drama and tension.

Eukleia - Post it notes representing planning a training course that uses scenarios & storytelling

A scenario-based approach is also very effective for exploring the ‘grey areas’ of a subject or issue. We know that for compliance training to be effective, learners need to not only have the knowledge of what to do but how to apply that knowledge in real life. Scenarios are a valuable way to give learners that space to explore and practise.

What are scenarios?

Put simply, a scenario is a context-based question or activity. A typical scenario presents a realistic situation to a learner and then asks them to make a decision. These can be created using simple text and graphics, text and photos or text and videos.

Scenarios challenge the learner to apply learning, rather than simply recall knowledge.

A scenario can be a single question or learners can be challenged to make a series of decisions to create a more immersive learning experience.

A branching scenario is a multi-decision learning experience where the decisions learners make send them on different paths through the scenario. These are more complicated to implement but are very effective at demonstrating – in an in-depth way – the consequences of decisions.

Alternatively, a multi-decision scenario can follow a single path, where learners have to make the right decision before they can progress.

From a behaviour change angle, scenarios also support many of the conditions that we know can enable behaviour change.

B.J Fogg’s model of behaviour change posits that three things are needed for behaviour change to take place:

  • Triggers: what will trigger learners to make changes to their behaviour.
  • Ability: what knowledge or skills do learners need in order to be able to change their behaviours.
  • Motivation: what is going to motivate learners to actually make changes to their behaviour.

By portraying the impact of poor decisions, scenarios can be a powerful trigger for learners to change their behaviours. At the same time, they can also provide motivation for change by outlining the benefits of good conduct and behaviour for themselves, their colleagues and the firm as a whole.

Partnered with well-designed learning content that communicates the knowledge and skills required to achieve change, scenarios are a highly-effective design approach for achieving real impact with your training.

How it works in practice

The following screenshots are examples of how we can present an overarching story and scenario-driven approach to the design of an Anti-Bribery and Corruption topic of a Financial Crime-focused course.

In the course, the learner is tasked with playing the role of a member of staff investigating potentially suspicious activity. They follow the story throughout the whole of the course, receiving pieces of information (or ‘evidence’) and are tasked with making decisions. On making a decision, they receive detailed feedback interspersed with supplementary learning content on key regulations and learning points. The story then continues.

After a video introduction, the learner is put at the centre of the story.

Screenshot from a Eukleia training course showing Scenarios & Storytelling -

They are presented with information to help them make a decision.

Screenshot from a Eukleia training course showing Scenarios & Storytelling -


They are then presented with a decision to make and a range of options.

Screenshot from a Eukleia training course showing Scenarios & Storytelling - engaging compliance training
On choosing an action, they receive feedback. In this instance, they haven’t made the right decisions so they receive supplementary information on the correct course of action.

Screenshot from a Eukleia training course showing Scenarios & Storytelling -


This design approach frames all of the learning within an overarching story, so rather than learners having to go through many screens of learning content on rules and regulations, this information is dispersed throughout the course and also placed in context, as it’s only presented at a relevant point in the story. This makes the whole experience far more immersive and grounds the learning in a real-life situation.

This type of approach can be used in conjunction with personalisation, so that learners only see additional content if they are not making the right decisions, cutting down learning time for those staff who are demonstrating a high level of understanding and competence.


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