It’s that time of the year again when you need to ensure your employees complete the mandatory compliance courses. Chances are, as a prudent training manager, you have assigned your employees the courses well in advance and sent them regular reminder e-mails about completing the courses. You get the results – most of the employees pass the test; but talk to them and the story that emerges will be quite grim. Learners will not wax enthusiasm about the course they took. In all probability, they’ll tell you they just flipped through course, made it to the Mastery Quiz and cleared it based on prior knowledge. Due to this approach, they might have lost out on new updates or changes in the regulations/guidelines which were incorporated in the course.
What went wrong? Well, your employees barely tolerated the course and completed it because it was mandatory. How can you change this scenario? How can you ensure your courses convert grumbling, passive takers into delighted, eager adopters? To realize this shift, you will need a radical change in the perspective of your courses. From the much used routine page turners and bland courses with insipid interactivities you need to move on to fertile grounds of imagination.
Let us look at a few ideas that will help transform your compliance courses so that they do not put off learners and actually encourage them to learn and retain the essential stuff.
1. Provide learners the flexibility to select what they want to learn
Adult learners prefer learning at their own pace and only if it is proven to improve their performance. They feel comfortable when they have options to choose from and resent being imposed upon. Compliance courses often overlook this concept. Most of your learners might be aware of most of the content and find it boring and redundant to go through it again just to clear the assessment.
To overcome this hurdle, the course can be divided into mini modules, each of which will cover exactly 1 learning point and last not more than 5 to 7 minutes. New changes, if any, can be incorporated into a separate module. Begin the course with a pre-assessment having questions from all the modules. Learners must be asked to take a particular module only if they answer the respective question incorrectly. Of course, they will need to take the module containing the new changes. Also, give them the option of taking the other modules if they want to. This structure can be easily accommodated on almost all Learning Management Systems (LMSs).
2. Use a scenario-based approach to drive home the main essence of the course
Most compliance courses deal with the rules and regulations to be followed in various contexts and the repercussions of not adhering to them. Row upon row of bulleted text supported by audio and a few images, or content chunked and presented as a ‘click-on’ won’t facilitate knowledge retention. On the contrary, it might overload and frustrate learners.
A simple way of presenting the same content in an engaging and effective manner is by using scenarios. Present learners’ scenarios mirroring real life situations they are likely to face at work and they will be interested in solving and pose related questions. Learning can be built based on learners’ choices. This is also a good platform to inform learners of the losses and penalties both they and the company may accrue due to their non-compliance or carelessness.
Using scenarios is a very effective learning strategy because when learners take hands-on decisions and receive immediate feedback, they will understand the implications better and retain knowledge for a longer period. This will also help them become adept at applying the knowledge at the point of need.
3. Gamify learning to build learner engagement
Gamification is the latest buzzword in e-learning. Let’s see how it can be adapted to teach compliance topics effectively. Start the course with a short, real video, if possible. The course can be divided into units based on the difficulty level.
Each unit can conclude with a gamified assessment wherein learners need to acquire a token/badge/article needed to proceed to the next unit. This will build engagement levels as learners will be eager to earn the articles and proceed to the next level. The complexity of games can be increased as learners proceed further.
If the subject lends itself, you can have a video-game-like story woven throughout the course in which learners will need to complete certain tasks or overcome obstacles to proceed. Along the way, provide helpful tips and notes in the form of lifelines, resources, etc.
These are a few approaches through which e-learning compliance courses can be rejuvenated, increasing learner engagement and transforming boring, mandatory topics into topics learners will like to explore, enjoy, and thereby, be compliant with the requisite regulations. Have other ideas? Do share with us.