Compliance Training Doesn’t Have to Be Boring

The modern workplace expects employees to be flexible, accessible and fast moving. Shouldn’t the same apply to online compliance training? Yes, and the good news is that compliance training is breaking out of its boring lane.

Traditionally, organizations have used compliance training to manage and defend themselves against lawsuits. So, it’s not surprising that compliance training has a reputation for dull, static content, dense with legal jargon, and ineffective at motivating employees to change attitudes and behaviors.

That’s changing. Today, HR practitioners and employees expect compliance training to be relevant, engaging and interactive. Microlearning and interactivity are helping achieve this by transforming compliance training from something employees dread, like a root canal, to something they find valuable, and even enjoyable.

On demand learning

While there are many ways to define microlearning, basically, it’s a method of organizing digital content into bite-sized nuggets of information that are easy to digest and retain. Rather than overload employees with information, microlearning offers short, focused modules or episodes – about 3 to 10 minutes long – that can easily fit into an employee’s distracted workday.

Using animation, graphics, videos and real-world examples, microlearning is an efficient way for workers to learn something new or review information they learned earlier. The goal is to keep compliance and ethical issues top of mind, inside and outside the workplace.

One of the key advantages of microlearning is its flexibility. The format allows for tailoring or updating content quickly to fit a specific industry, issue, or situation. Microlearning works well within a longer training course, as standalone episodes that employees can access on an as-needed basis, or as part of a blended learning approach to complement classroom, instructor-led training.

Interactivity is key

Interactivity fuels microlearning. Enabling employees to interact with the training content to solve problems creates an agile learning environment that is conducive to raising awareness and changing behavior.

The key is to make learners active participants. Building interactivity into scenario-based videos is a way to immerse employees in realistic situations, and challenge their decision-making skills. Involving them in the narrative also allows employees to see how laws and policies apply to their personal responsibilities at work.

Interactive videos can be a powerful vehicle for teaching employees how subtle behavior can lead to compliance and ethical violations. Instead of clicking through PowerPoint slides, an interactive video can dramatically show employees, for example, how a supervisor’s “friendly” comments to a new manager can veer into inappropriate and unlawful territory. Employees are then prompted to engage deeper with the content when they must choose how the new manager should respond to the unwelcome behavior.

Worth noting, earlier this year, actor/producer David Schwimmer and writer/director Sigal Avin launched a series of short videos about workplace sexual harassment for a PSA campaign, #ThatsHarassment which continues to garner positive media attention and support for raising awareness of this pervasive problem.

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When professionally written and produced, videos are effective for addressing any compliance topic or workplace issue. Whether it’s preventing discrimination and harassment or information security, the key is to tell a believable story that connects with employees on an emotional level.

It’s also important that online compliance training provides a fun and challenging way to test employees’ understanding of the topics and issues covered. Integrating assessments, quizzes, learn-by-doing exercises and elements of game playing within each microlearning episode, rather than at the end of the course, encourages ongoing engagement and reinforces learning objectives.

You get more “Likes”

Microlearning and interactivity are valuable tools for creating and delivering online compliance training to a modern workforce that is often distracted and interrupted by their devices and social media. Taking a page from Netflix’s original-content strategy, online compliance training can get more “Likes” and fewer eye rolls when topics are relevant, relatable and easily accessible in a familiar format. After all, who doesn’t like a good story?