Regulatory and compliance training has always been a thorn in the flesh of training managers. There are the regulatory authorities to satisfy as they want records of training completion; there are the reporting managers to reckon with because they don’t want their wards to be off their workplace for too long; there are the learners to manage, because they don’t particularly find the content interesting. Then there is the business end of it – how do you ensure that compliance training leads to compliance, and how does that lead to an improvement in organizational performance? Answers have been sought, with limited success. Little wonder then that compliance training has been long on rhetoric and short on transformational approaches. Here are five key challenges in developing e-learning courses in compliance training.
Compliance training is a grudge purchase. Implementing compliance training is as exciting as replacing car tires – you get no particular joy doing it, but not doing so is not an option. The same applies to the people getting trained and their reporting managers. The challenge is deceptively simple: How do we drive learners into adopting compliance as matter of habit? How do we integrate it with the way they work and think?
Compliance training is more than just training. Compliance
training is as much about communication and sensitization as it is
about training, perhaps more of the former. It’s about making the
learner aware of changes in regulations; it’s about getting the learner
to understand the not-so-pleasant consequences of not adhering to
certain norms and practices of behavior; it’s about ensuring the
learner remembers certain key principles when s/he is in the middle of
a professional transaction. Consequently, approaches to compliance
training need to vary depending on the different requirements and
Much of what compliance training covers is not new to the learner. This is because a large part of compliance training is perhaps intuitive (not unlike the statutory warning on cigarette packs) and/or known to a large part of the learner audience, especially the more experienced ones. Consequently, the content of a compliance training course comes across as a blinding flash of the obvious to many a learner, and hence gets ignored. The challenge is to consider layered approaches to the instructional design of compliance training courses, so experienced users and novices alike get the most out of the course.
Ignorance is not bliss. Not knowing the law is not an excuse for breaking it. Hence, the speed with which new compliance guidelines are communicated to the learner audience is an integral requirement of compliance training. This includes a design that accommodates changes seamlessly, and development tools that enable quick changes to be made by subject matter experts or program managers or training managers.
Prioritization is possible. Quite often, compliance courses tend to be long and cognitively heavy because there is an imperative to expose all the content to the learner. Sure legislation mandates that, but if the content can be prioritized and exposed to the learner in smaller chunks and on an as-needed basis, effectiveness can perhaps be enhanced.
(Geetha Krishnan is Head – Consulting with Tata Interactive Systems.)