For many, compliance training is synonymous with time spent battling boredom. They can’t be blamed because, most often, compliance training content is designed that way – dull and boring, infused with legal terminology and guidelines. It is, therefore, not surprising that a survey by Towards Maturity found out that almost 60 percent of those surveyed stated dull and boring content to be the one of the barriers to compliance training. This need not be the case.
Compliance training can be engaging, educating and inspiring to employees. In an earlier article, I shared some tips to make compliance training successful. In this article, I would like to focus on content and how it can impact the quality of compliance training.
Content can be made boring or engaging depending on how it is handled. Here are a set of questions that help evaluate the effectiveness of compliance training programs.
Is the content curated for self-paced online learning?
Very often, the content of compliance training is prepared by subject matter experts (SMEs) who may be legal experts or HR personnel. The course content would be from the legal perspective and employees will be unable to interpret its relevance to them and their job roles. The SMEs may or may not be proficient in presenting content that works for self-paced or online learning.
For compliance training to be successful and well-received, the curriculum should be jointly developed by both SMEs and learning experts. Learning experts or instructional designers know how to present content in an interactive manner and engage adult learners. This way, while SMEs bring in subject matter expertise to the table, instructional designers bring in learning expertise and can chalk out strategies to make the course engaging and interesting.
Is the content customized to suit the context of the audience?
Compliance training is usually mandated by an external organization, where standard and broad course content is shared as a guideline for training. However, this broad content needs to be presented within the context of an organization so that employees can easily relate to it. Ideally, this content should be rewritten in the context of the workplace and jobs – using specific instances related to the organization, designations of people, images that show actual work space and people of the organization. Merely changing the title, including the organization’s logo to the generic content or template will not have the desired impact.
To make training content more interesting, you can have scenarios and case studies built into the curriculum. Compliance is usually about right decision-making in a given situation. So, you can create typical situations where there is a conflict or a decision is to be made. Share these situations in the form of case studies or scenarios and invite participants to respond to the situation. Content is more likely to be received positively because it talks about real situations employees can easily relate to. Video-based-learning, problem-based-learning and gamification are other strategies that are used to make compliance training content engaging.
Is the training content overloaded with too much information?
As the report by Towards Maturity states, effective compliance training is still a distant reality for many organizations. One of the barriers to its adoption is said to be the overloading of content by SMEs. Most of the content shared by regulatory bodies is rules and regulations, which are quite comprehensive and detailed, and often in textual format. If the content is shared “as it is” in the course, it would be boring and uninspiring for employees.
The solution is to identify the most essential aspects of the content that is to be shared (as per the regulatory norms) and plan a learning strategy to share content in the most effective manner. Just sharing bulleted lists and textual content will not be helpful. A mix of media elements such as graphics, animations, videos or interactive multimedia elements will make the course more appealing to learners. Instead of being passive recipients of knowledge, they would be actively participating in the learning process. A good instructional designer will be able to help achieve this objective.
To conclude, the key to making compliance training less boring is to ensure that the training content is employee-centric instead of legal-centric. It should talk about what the law means to the employees instead of merely talking about what the law states.
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Dr. Ayesha Habeeb Omer is the COO & Co-Founder of Commlab India, a global online learning solutions provider. She is hands-on with client projects and steers the team toward timely closure to provide the highest levels of customer satisfaction for clients. She has 19 years of experience in financial services, university teaching, training and e-learning. She was one of the first people in India to be awarded a doctorate in E-learning. She also holds an Advanced E-learning Instructional Design Certificate from ATD, USA.