Can Compliance Training be Engaging for Learners?
As we’ve focused on compliance this month, we’ve spent a lot of time examining what compliance training is, why it’s crucial even when it isn’t government mandated, and what can happen if it fails. Boring as it may be, the risks are too great to ignore, making compliance training an essential part of maintaining a business’s reputation. But what if compliance training didn’t have to be boring? What if compliance training was engaging for learners?
The average worker wants to be ethical, productive, and involved in work culture and brand image. Your employees want to learn the messages that compliance training is trying to teach them, even if they don’t realize they do. By finding the right approach and creating the right message, you can create that connection.
Can compliance training be exciting? We think there’s a lot of untapped potential. Let’s start with the following three lessons for a modern approach to engage modern learners.
Lesson One: Find the Empathy within Compliance
As human beings, we are wired to respond to and connect with emotion. Even when we think we’re making a decision based on objective logic, chances are that we’re still letting our emotional response be our guide! Despite the stigma that emotion is irrational and inferior to objectivity, understanding how entrenched our feelings are with our decisions is a great asset for designing training. Encountering a learning activity that makes us feel something drives our attention, bolsters learning and memory, and gets us invested.
This is even more important when it comes to compliance training specifically, where there can be great leverage in allowing learners to consider the consequences of their actions. Letting them see (and more importantly, feel) the impact of their choices raises the stakes. Emotional connections make corporate compliance much, much more personal.
There are several different strategies you can use to achieve this. Well-researched case studies and scenarios can capture your learners’ interest, help them empathize with those affected by the issues at hand, and get them invested in the outcome. Add video into the mix for the extra boost that music and carefully-placed imagery can add to the effect.
Lesson Two: Immerse your Learners within the Content
Living in the modern world often sees us being bombarded with information on a constant basis. It’s no wonder that it can be difficult to give our full attention to something we’re supposed to be learning, or that so much of what we learn is quickly forgotten after the fact. To combat the short attention spans of the present and better ensure that the crucial policies your employees are supposed to be absorbing are retained, invest in training that draws your learners in. The benefits of immersive training content are similar to that of content with an emotional impact, and the two augment each other when they go hand in hand.
When training is immersive, it provides the user with a cohesive experience that keeps them engaged. Complex branching scenarios are a great fit for making compliance training interesting—even captivating with a good design! Depending on your sector and budget, adding an AR/VR element to these scenarios could make for an even bigger impact and a more personalized experience.
Even if a full-blown virtual reality experience isn’t the best fit for your company, there’s still plenty of opportunity to add flair. Even the smallest stylistic tweaks can heighten learner immersion. Select design elements that fit with the tone you want to portray, from page layout, to fonts, to color scheme. Each carefully chosen detail can come together for a more compelling end result.
Lesson Three: Use Technology and Trends to your Advantage
If you’ve been researching training at all over the past few years, you’ve probably heard many a buzzword, for instance, gamification, microlearning, or responsive design. These technologies and strategies have been gaining traction as modern ideas about training have evolved. Of course, these trends are best used when they’re tailored to fit your company’s needs and enhance your learners’ experience. If the fit isn’t right for you, there’s no need to invest, even if the internet is abuzz over the “next new big thing in training.”
On the flip side, the reason why these buzzwords are everywhere is because, with the right application, they can be quite effective! For instance, let’s look at microlearning in compliance training. Breaking up dry policy content into bite-sized pieces can help employees focus—and avoid the need to shut down a company for the day to complete the training. Or, as another example, responsive design streamlines a learner’s ability to take their training on the go and access important policy information when they need it most.
So, maybe expecting your team to jump for joy when you announce a new mandatory compliance course is unrealistic, but that doesn’t mean compliance training’s reputation should hold you back. In fact, we as an industry should take it as a challenge to transform how we think about compliance—and how we can drive better behavior and results.
What have you found to be a great way to engage your learners in compliance training? Let us know in the comments below.
If you have a compliance training challenge you need some expert advice on, connect with us! We’d love to help.