Five more ingredients for compliance e-learning excellence

by Viv Cole on October 17, 2016

Once again I had the privilege to judge the e-learning awards (now called the Learning Technology Awards). When I last judged the compliance category two years ago I wrote Five ingredients for compliance e-learning excellence. It was great to see that many of the entries reflected these five ingredients and the general improvement in learner experience. Here are five more top tips that I can share:

  1. Do user testing

It’s tempting to think that as completing compliance learning is non-negotiable, there’s not much scope for learners to give you useful feedback. Big mistake. Some of the best entries took risks with the e-learning treatment, creating higher levels of engagement and breaking the mould in terms of the kind of e-learning that learners had come to expect. Testing prototypes of the e-learning with learners via focus groups and observation made taking these risks far safer. This paved the way to the new treatments creating a positive talking point and buzz – a great result.

  1. Give your learners a boost

Bad compliance learning feels like something that learners have done to them and is disempowering – “Don’t do X or the big bad regulator/auditor will catch you!”. If you want learners to have the confidence to make the right decisions in challenging circumstances, why not give them a psychological boost? One entry stood out by making each learner the hero of the story in highly immersive way.

  1. Humour is OK

Compliance is a serious topic, but does it have to be presented in a serious way? Subject matter experts may naturally feel that humour has no place in their beloved area of expertise. When done well humour leads to greater engagement and more buzz around the learning. Two of the entries made very effective use of humour. Of course it’s not going to work in all situations, so if in doubt do user testing (see #6 above).

  1. Make the test really difficult

The best compliance learning helps learners learn how to do something new. The antithesis to this is being able to pass the test without doing the learning. At least two of the entries deliberately set out to make the test difficult. This resulted in learners feeling that the learning was more worthwhile and that they had achieved something.

User testing is great way to verify that the test is difficult enough (challenging but not impossible). This is especially important if you’re using a pre-test (see ingredient 3) to allow learners who pass to “test-out” of some or all of the rest of the learning.

  1. Use interim results to tailor the final test

Where you have learning that is delivered over several modules, you have the potential to gather lots of data about how a learner is performing. One entry made excellent use of this data to tailor the length (and hence difficulty) of the final assessment. Learners who had performed well during the previous modules received a shorter final assessment and learners who had been struggling got a longer final assessment. This all adds up to the organisation getting assurance that all learners know how to comply in a way that minimises the opportunity cost of learning.

I trust you find these themes helpful and do contact me if you have a compliance need that could use some extra stardust.

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