How To Create An Effective Online Compliance Training Experience
Compliance is absolutely vital for every organization, as failure to follow certain rules, laws, and regulations that concern your company could lead to severe penalties and destroy your business’ reputation. Compliance training addresses some very important issues, such as violations and legal liability, and thus it should be taken very seriously. However, many businesses fail to address it properly. In this article, I’ll share 7 tips on how to create effective online compliance training experiences that ensure not only that your employees understand the regulations they must adhere to, but also that your online compliance training courses encourage a superior workplace culture.
- Know your audience.
Getting a clear sense of your audience is more than important; without this knowledge it will be impossible to design and develop effective online compliance training courses, as you will not be able to determine whether your eLearning methods and tools are appropriate for them. Gather information about their education backgrounds, job experience, and levels of knowledge by conducting surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Furthermore, work closely with your subject matter experts and find out how much of the eLearning content is entirely new or has already been covered in previous compliance training programs; this way, you will avoid repeating unnecessary information.
- Tie your online compliance training to real world issues.
Effective online compliance training is meaningful; if your employees fail to see how their online training relates to their day-to-day work activities, they will lose interest and motivation to actively participate in the program. Create case studies and real world benefit eLearning scenarios that reflect your audience’s actual work circumstances and help them develop a deep connection with the issues involved. Furthermore, allow them to make decisions and learn from their mistakes in a risk free environment, so that they can practice their skills with real world situations without jeopardizing your company’s integrity.
- Add small doses of humor.
Who says that compliance training can’t be fun? In fact, it has been proven that effective compliance training not only allows, but also encourages the emotional connection between employees and their training. And there isn’t a better way to develop an emotional connection than a small dose of humor. “Small” is key word; you don’t want to overshadow the subject matter with jokes and anecdotes, but occasional humorous elements in, say, your stories can really take the overall pressure of compliance training off. Just remember to keep your witty additions positive and, most importantly, culturally appropriate.
- Use a variety of learning methods.
According to the multiple intelligences theory different people learn in different ways, and you cannot assume that your employees are all the same. Retaining knowledge is obviously the absolute goal of every learning experience, but in online compliance training absorbing information is more than critical. This is why you need to pay attention to diversity in learning needs and accommodate all of your learners, whether they are visual, acoustic, kinesthetic, and so on. In order to do this, consider incorporating different types of multimedia into your compliance training strategy: rich visuals such as powerful images and infographics, interesting audio elements, and informative eLearning videos; this way, you will be sure that you address all learning needs and preferences.
- Make the online training experience interesting.
eLearning games and simulations are great tools to build immersive eLearning experiences, and in the case of online compliance training, which is a particularly boring subject for your employees, it is important to find ways to convert boring information into exciting material. Gamification can significantly help your audience memorize complex law terms or regulations, as it can be both challenging and rewarding. All in all, the more opportunities you offer your employees to satisfy their need for achievement and recognition, the more likely it will be that they pay attention to their online training and absorb necessary information.
- Don’t overwhelm your employees with information overload.
One of the most challenging aspects of online compliance training is that your employees need to absorb a sheer abundance of information. To help them keep new data fresh in their minds, consider microlearning: break your content up into short, bite sized modules, and use bullets to highlight key points. This will help both your employees digest large amounts of information and you organize and prioritize your eLearning content, as it will be easier to focus on your learning objectives. Furthermore, take advantage of mobile learning, as giving your audience the flexibility to access their training from their mobile devices anywhere and anytime will significantly enhance their online compliance training experience.
- Incorporate a character.
Incorporating a character into your online compliance training course will personalize the whole eLearning experience for your employees, which will significantly enhance knowledge retention. Consider using an avatar that your audience can relate to, for example a figure resembling someone who could easily work for the organization. Take the time and carefully develop the character in order to make sure that it adds value to your eLearning course instead of being simply an entertaining but distractive element. Moreover, pay attention to the character’s voice, if you use narration, as it needs to be friendly, as well as authoritative.
Why Using Storytelling For Compliance Is Effective
If you reach into the depths of your memory, chances are that the first words you remember from childhood are “Once upon a time…”. You loved a great story back then; you probably still do!
And that’s why storytelling is such a vital component of any eLearning program that we develop at Interactive Services. A story taps into something very primal – the promise of a narrative that will reward us simply for listening.
The attention span of the learner is assailed on all sides, from text messages or email to TV; whatever may be happening right then in the life of the learner. So to demand attention, the “hook” of a great story is extremely powerful.
What Sort Of Stories Work Best? 4 Tips On How To Use Storytelling For Compliance
- A starting point to developing a story is to make it realistic to your audience.
Develop a main character who belongs in the world of the learner, and give him/her a background, a problem to solve, and a positive outcome.
For example, for an Insider Trading eLearning course, create an everyman character – it could be you or me – who has no intent to breach compliance rules, but who may trip up due to lack of knowledge, or lack of care.
- In filling out the details of the story, keep it conversational.
Write as you would speak, keeping it as informal as possible. Remember, too, that you can localize your stories, placing them in a context that will be most recognizable to the learner.
For example, you could set your Insider Trading story in a pharmaceutical firm, but don’t assume that everyone will know all the complex medical jargon and language used by the Pharma industry.
- Another key to successful storytelling is to keep the story short.
You need to do this particularly when it comes to eLearning, when there are so many other demands on the learner’s time. The moral or learning point of the story can be just as powerful if you keep it brief.
For example, in our Insider Trading example, present a dilemma and give the learner a choice of actions. You don’t need a lengthy preamble. It’s enough to say “You meet a friend who tells you his firm is about to acquire a competitor…” and get straight into the story.
- Make sure the story has a beginning, middle, and an end.
Typically, this will involve the hero/heroine being faced with a challenge, teasing out how best to address the problem, then implementing the action needed to solve the problem – and creating a better reality in the process.
For example, the consequences of a breach of Insider Trading rules can be severe. So make sure you leave enough time to outline the outcomes. And try to finish on a positive. Focus on the disaster averted rather than the crime discovered.
Finally, remember that using storytelling for compliance is a powerful method of getting the compliance learner to change behavior rather than simply absorbing information. A great story can motivate, encourage, and inspire – leading to a new way of thinking and a new way of behaving.