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Engaging Compliance Training: It’s Time to Think Differently About Assessments

This blog article was written prior to LEO Learning becoming part of GP Strategies.

When it comes to compliance training, assessment in one form or another is hard to escape. Along with visibility on course completion rates, regulators also require evidence that your training is effective. And assessments are a reasonably robust way of demonstrating effectiveness as they can show that learners understand key rules and regulations as well as appropriate actions and behaviors.

So end-of-course assessments are a bit of a ‘necessary evil’ for any compliance eLearning course. And they often take the form of banks of multiple choice questions which challenge learners to recall knowledge from the main learning content.

But are there other ways we can assess learners? Can we make assessments more powerful and more valuable than simply assessing knowledge uptake? Can we make assessments more engaging?

At LEO Learning, we’re now thinking about assessments a bit differently. We’re asking ourselves these questions and coming up with different tactics, not only to test knowledge transfer but also how we can use assessment to drive behavior change.

Here are three examples of new approaches we’re taking:

Scenario-Based Assessments

Scenarios are a valuable way to drive engagement with your training content and we’re increasingly taking a scenario-based approach to assessments too. Because scenarios are challenging learners to apply rather than recall knowledge, they’re also a more robust approach to understanding training effectiveness.

How it works in practice:
In one course we’ve designed recently, we’ve taken a scenario-based approach throughout the course content and then extended this approach through to the final assessment.

In each topic, learners watch a short video drama and then have to complete a challenging scenario based on what they’ve seen. To complete the course, learners take a final ‘mastery test’. In this test, learners are challenged to complete a range of scenario-based questions and the questions they receive are based on their performance in the earlier scenarios. That means that if a learner answered incorrectly to a scenario in the main course, they receive extra questions related to this learning point.

Ethical Questioning and Psychological Safety

This is a new area we are currently exploring in response to an increased focus from regulators on the role that culture plays in enabling staff to behave appropriately and feel safe to speak up when they believe something might be wrong.

Recently, the concept of psychological safety has gained traction. In organizations where individuals feel a high level of psychological safety, they feel able to speak up and voice opinions. In contrast, in an organization where there is low psychological safety, there is a culture of fear and intimidation and staff feel very hesitant to speak up due to concerns about repercussions.

It’s been found that low psychological safety contributes to significant failures in performance and conduct within organizations.

Addressing the concept of psychological safety in your compliance training is not only a valuable approach to supporting positive culture change, it can also be a powerful way to engage learners on a side of compliance they may never have considered before. For many staff, compliance is simply rules and regulations and they may not have ever thought about the wider context and role that compliance training can play in supporting the culture of their firms.

How it works in practice:
A simple way to start exploring the concept of psychological safety in compliance training is to use questions to explore attitudes and assumptions.

It’s particularly effective to ask learners to consider situations outside of their normal working roles. Ask learners to decide how they would react to a situation where someone is behaving inappropriately in a different sphere and then compare this behavior to something that could take place within a firm. This could be focused around intimidation, bullying, or threatening behavior.

Post-Course Assessment

Assessment doesn’t always have to be confined to the end of the course.

End-of-course assessments are useful for understanding the immediate effectiveness of training, but this is only a short-term view. Following up training with further opportunities to assess how learners have retained knowledge is an effective way to maintain learner engagement as well as increase knowledge retention and the chances of learners making real changes to their behavior long-term.

How it works in practice:

Plan to deliver follow-up questions or mini-quizzes at set times post-course completion. These can be sent via email with a link to a short module hosted on your LMS. If you have access to learner analytics you could also personalize the assessment by sending questions on areas you know the learner struggled to grasp within the course.

If you’ve adopted a storytelling or scenario-based approach within the original course, you can continue this with your post-course assessment. Think about delivering follow-up ‘episodes’ featuring the characters from the original course.

About the Authors

Ashley Laurence

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