This blog article was written prior to LEO Learning becoming part of GP Strategies.
Put simply, when learners are engaged they learn better and retain knowledge for longer. Engaged learners are also more likely to change their behaviors and support the ethical cultures we know that regulators are now looking for.
The Challenge of Delivering Engaging Compliance Training
But increasing learner engagement can be tricky, and it’s historically always been a bit of a challenge with compliance training for a number of reasons:
- Subject matter: Training has struggled to relate compliance themes to learners’ daily roles and the sense of shared responsibility in getting it right.
- Mandatory nature: Compliance training is usually mandatory and many learners have to do it a few times a year, as well as each time they start at a new firm. This makes it seem like a ‘chore’ that has to be tolerated.
- Bad reputation: Unfortunately, poorly designed compliance training has often been the norm for many learners. And even when designers have the best intentions, legal teams and overly keen subject matter experts often insist on packing training with as much information as possible. The result is dry, overly-dense, and very long training.
- Training volume: The amount of training learners have to complete on what are often closely related topics and regulations can be significant. And then they have to do it again in a year’s time.
With such an uphill battle, it’s perhaps understandable that the goal of engagement is often deprioritized in favor of simply getting the training out and completed. Box ticked—next.
But there is a range of ways you can drive engagement with your compliance training—one of the design approaches we’re currently using, to great effect, is content grouping.
Content Grouping vs Microlearning
As mentioned above, we know that one of the barriers to learner engagement with compliance training is the fact that many learners have to complete a range of separate compliance courses on different topics. This volume of training, often amounting to many hours each year, can understandably lead to learner fatigue and ultimately, a steep drop-off in engagement.
Microlearning (delivering multiple short ‘bites’ of learning content) is an effective learning strategy in a lot of cases, especially if you’re striving to make learning as concise as possible. But counter-intuitively, when it comes to compliance training, we’ve found that the opposite approach tends to be effective at driving learner engagement. Because of the issue of training volume, condensing a range of courses into a single overarching ‘mega’ course is often a much more palatable and engaging way for learners to complete their compliance training.
Additionally, this approach also leverages the fact that many compliance topics share a common set of desired learning outcomes, particularly around behavior change. Creating a single course avoids repetition in content but allows you to explore behaviors in greater depth. Many of the most important behavioral shifts we hope to embed as a result of training—for example, speaking up and questioning suspicious behavior or activity—are behaviors we want to see in a range of different risk areas, from money laundering and financial crime to conduct and information security.
By grouping courses together, you can explore and interrogate these behaviors in different ways and contexts across a single course, helping to drive real behavior and culture change in your organization.
Learner Engagement and Content Grouping in Action
The following diagram shows how a single course can be designed to group together a range of different compliance topics.
Originally, the learners at this organization were taking 14 x 30-minute eLearning courses, a total of seven hours learning time. But with a combined course approach, they are now looking at a total learning time of around two hours.
You can see that each topic combines related regulations and risk areas together—for example, the Financial Crime course covers Anti-Money Laundering as well as Tax Evasion and Sanctions. These would otherwise be separate courses. This approach not only streamlines the training time but also means learners can explore rules and regulations in context and understand how appropriate behavior and conduct support compliance with these rules.
Additionally, by combining all of these topics into a single course, we can utilize the concept and benefits of spaced learning. This is achieved by surfacing and testing understanding of earlier learning points in later modules. For example, in the Financial Crime topic, we are including a scenario on a Market Conduct issue that appears in the first topic. This serves to reinforce key learning points and helps to combat the “forgetting curve.”