Making Compliance Fun: Yes, It’s Possible

online compliance training can be funCompliance training: you have to assign it, your learners have to take it, and you probably don’t think it’s anyone’s favorite flavor of workforce learning.

You might be wrong, however. While compliance falls firmly into the must-do category and isn’t nearly as fun as the nice-to-have training (meditation and yoga classes offered as perks, for example), learners are getting more interested in compliance — not necessarily because of the content, but for the way those modules are being served to learners.

What don’t learners like about compliance training?

The past year has pushed many companies to change their training programs, but for a moment, I’d like you to think back to the last in-person compliance training you had to attend. There was likely a speaker, a room of about 30 co-workers, photocopied handouts, and a slide presentation. If it was onsite, you probably had to block out an hour or so. If it was off-site, you lost about half a day. You probably had to fill out a questionnaire afterwards, so your trainers and supervisors know you understood the material. The material itself may have been boring or irrelevant to your job, and it’s possible you didn’t remember much of what you learned afterward.

Those were all things you probably didn’t love. The numbers bear this out. Back in 2013, the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) surveyed compliance executives and employees. They found that 68% of employees found their minds wandering during compliance training, and 61% didn’t believe the training was relevant to their work.

The CEB concluded that compliance training would have better results if the training were targeted to learners’ specific roles within a company so they could see how the information would impact them personally. They’d be less likely to be bored.

That’s hard to do in person, however. When you’re training 30 people, you can’t necessarily train everyone personally.

How do learners feel about online training?

Recently, Training Industry released its 2021 Learner Preference Report. The survey shows a surprising trend. While learners tend to prefer Instructor-Led Training (ILT) and On-The-Job training as delivery methods for training in general, that wasn’t the case for every training topic.

Many learners prefer to take compliance courses online.

Why are they so popular? First of all, there’s the obvious convenience of eLearning. Online courses mean learners can take a module whenever they have time, rather than leaving work for a training session, and they can take a course from whatever device they have in hand.

In fact, back in 2017, Training Industry spoke to four learners in depth about their experience with compliance training. All four learners praised the convenience of online compliance training.

One learner, Linda, said she enjoyed taking compliance training quickly.

“I don’t have to turn in completion certificates or anything else because it is all handled with the system we are using,” she said.

There’s another benefit, however. A learner can look back on a compliance course whenever they need to refresh their knowledge about the content in the course. Rather than having to rely on notes, or on their own memory, the compliance course is always in their learning management system (LMS) and learners can glance at it whenever they need to.

That doesn’t mean all online compliance courses are a learner’s dream, however. The content can still be boring.

How can compliance training be made engaging?

At first blush, it might seem like there’s no way to make compliance training fun. All four learners interviewed by Training Industry complained about the dryness and predictability of the content, including Brad, an attorney.

“Usually, the content is read to you while you click through the slides. Then there is a scenario and you have to answer a multiple-choice question. Then repeat, repeat and repeat until the end,” he said.

The 2021 learner preferences study discovered that learners approve of engaging compliance training. About half of the respondents said they liked gamified compliance training and found it to be effective.

E-learning also makes compliance interesting in other ways; compliance courses are often purchased off-the-shelf, and contain entertaining animations and questions that keep learners engaged, rather than clicking ahead to answer the questions.

There’s also an element of micro-learning. E-learning modules are short, so they’re able to present the most important chunks of information quickly and effectively.

The surprising rise of compliance training

Let’s be honest; it’s unlikely your employees will stand up and cheer when they’re assigned a compliance module. That doesn’t mean they’re doomed to sit through it with glazed-over eyes and very little retention, however.

There are ways compliance can be made engaging, and the fact that so many employees want to take those courses online is proof of that fact.