Creativity and compliance training: together at last

Compliance training is one of the most essential components of learning and development, but it’s still viewed with quiet resentment by many employees. Not because they resent working safely within the law, but because the training itself is often joyless, arduous and boring.

Because of the serious nature of compliance training, there is a tendency to keep the modules themselves fairly black and white. This is understandable, as no L&D manager wants to take responsibility for a lack of compliance due to confusion created during compliance training.

But there is an opportunity to bring some creativity into the piece when designing your compliance modules. This isn’t about sitting employees down with crayons and asking them to create their compliance programs. It involves understanding the way that people like to engage with learning content, and how some outside of the box thinking can create vastly improved knowledge transfer and skill development.

Paint a picture

The use of case studies or mock situations is one of the most tried and true methods for illustrating compliance context. However, when employees need to read these off a page we are assuming they’ll even bother to read it, and that they’ll be engaged enough to use their imagination.

Video content has become exponentially more cost-effective to develop in recent years, with a variety of software programs that enable you to create affordable animations. Rather than asking your employees to engage with a static page of text, offer them a piece of short video content that clearly paints a picture of the scenario you need them to consider.

Practice makes perfect

Knowledge transfer and skill development happens at lightning speed when we can put new knowledge to work immediately. Unfortunately, practising a variety of scenarios may be too expensive, unsafe or generally unrealistic, which means the knowledge gained in a static compliance module is quickly forgotten.

This is where we see technologies such as VR offering new avenues for safely practising new skills. Pilots have been using flight simulators for decades, and the relative affordability of these technologies now enable a variety of possibilities for deployment within selected compliance modules.

Don’t be afraid to make it fun

As I’ve pointed out, many employees view compliance training like pulling teeth. While we can’t make these training modules a laugh a minute, we can introduce some fun concepts that also aid learning. One concept that is growing in popularity is gamification – where people are encouraged to learn by completing some form of digital game that involves points or competition.

These don’t need to look like Super Mario Bros, but they do deploy the same techniques such as levels, rewards and challenges to give employees a feeling of satisfaction when each level is completed. When designed well, employees feel a natural urge to keep playing the module to beat their score or to compete with their co-workers.

These examples are some of the more adventurous forms of creative compliance programs, but the general idea is to think outside the box in terms of what we’re serving up to employees. While this requires more effort and innovation on our part, if the end result is a more compliant and engaged workforce, the ends justify the means – and we can have fun creating compliance programs on the way.

This piece was written by Presence of IT's Marita Mewett and published on LinkedIn.