Employee compliance training remains one of the most critical training activities across industries. However, one of the challenges with implementing compliance training using traditional eLearning (or classroom training) methods is that, in most cases, the content is rendered rather dull and dry. This is never a good sign for any training, and the last thing training managers want is their learners dreading the training being offered.
Is there any strategy or course of action that one can use to create an effective compliance training program which is actually engaging? There is good evidence to show that a game-based approach, when appropriately applied to compliance learning, can bring about a positive impact on the learning outcomes. In this blog, I will give you five reasons you should invest in a game-based learning approach for compliance training.
1. Give Your Learners a Mission/Goal to Complete
When your learners feel challenged, their natural instinct is to keep going and coming back for more. One of the advantages of using a game-based or gamification approach is that it does not expect the learner to passively sit through a compliance course, but instead challenges the learner at various levels, making the learner to come back for more. This paper in ScienceDirect highlights that a game-based approach has the potential to “trigger motivational outcomes in learners”. Here is an example of a game-based approach for the code of conduct and business ethics training that can be accomplished in a level-based approach:
The aspects of the code of conduct training are spread out across different locations of a corporate organization. There are five locations (modules) that learners need to visit and complete the game (course). Learners embark on this quest to unlock the different codes of conduct by going from one location to the next, each pertaining to a particular code of conduct topic. To move to the next location, the learner must complete the challenge at the preceding location.
2. Depict Real-world Scenarios with Games
Employee compliance training is all about training learners to identify whether their actions contravene any laws and norms, and prevent breaches. Instead of the usual dos and don’ts that are often part of a compliance program, learners can be introduced to real-world scenarios featuring the actual dilemmas that learners face where they need to “think and act”. Games are ideal environments in which to exploit scenarios to their full potential, enabling learners to synthesize knowledge in order to solve problems.
A simple example of scenarios coming in handy for a game-based approach is when learners are trained on incidence reporting in information security practices: a workplace environment where employees interact and highlight the types of data, how to identify and handle, and dispose data based on sensitivity, what practices to avoid, the different kinds of threats involved in IT security, and what to do once a data breach occurs.
3. Affect Behavioral Changes in Learners using Avatars
A game-based approach is used by several organizations as part of their learning programs to affect behavioral change in their learners. Especially courses with expert and motivational gamified avatars that reflect on the learner’s accomplishments and progress throughout the course are immensely useful.
The use of avatars in game-based learning (digital anthropomorphic agents) enables the modeling of required behaviors which learners have to internalize and accomplish. For example, more than a bulleted list of rules to follow, using a doctor as an avatar for medical compliance and safety training could help bring about a behavioral change on ways to mitigate risks in a medical environment, how to use medical devices, training on regulatory compliance issues, among others.
In game-based learning, the function of an avatar is to:
- Be always there for learners seeking help as they go about their tasks
- Provide relevant feedback on their performance, based on which they can either decide to unlock/move to the next level or seek additional support to take a closer look at the concerned conflict of interest
- Reward particular user actions (such as course completions) with points and badges
4. Recognize their Progress; Reward their Performance
To offer a complete stress-free learning experience, add gamification elements such as points and badges as prizes for either advancing to the next level in the game or completing the compliance course itself. This is one of the simplest ways to encourage learner participation. By publicly assigning points on the basis of performance and showcasing their results on a dashboard or a leaderboard, for example, instills a sense of competition among learners, encouraging them to perform at a higher level.
5. Easily Measure their Knowledge with Game-based Assessments
Assessments help learners gain information on what they know or have learned from the course. Unlike traditional eLearning assessments that are known to intimidate learners, game-based tests provide a fun and effective way of evaluating learning. They assess how players respond to the choices available in the context of the gamified compliance course.
The learners have to identify the risk in the situation presented to them within a time period, with the element of challenge and competitiveness. The visually appealing design, graphics, and themes used in the game-based assessments make them highly engaging. The learning experience becomes more immersive, hence bringing out the learners’ natural responses toward situations. By tracking a learner’s failures and resulting behaviors in a game, training managers can understand how well they are understanding and applying concepts.
Training is predominantly about what the learners need to learn, and the various strategies that can be put in place to help them engage with and retain the content. An investment in a game-based approach for compliance training can improve learning outcomes through the use of realistic, virtual simulations that are more difficult to achieve through traditional methods. Traditional methods may provide stories or examples in order to describe a challenging concept, but game-based training takes online learning one step further by allowing learners to actively take part in the learning process through its highly-effective game mechanics.