During his 20-year career in learning and development, Anil D’Souza, Traliant’s Vice President of Learning, has managed the development of content, instructional design and quality assurance for ethics and regulatory compliance training programs for some of the world’s most respected companies. In Part 1 of a two-part Q&A, Anil shares his views on some of the top trends and developments in online compliance training.
As a learning design strategist, what would you say are the important trends in online compliance training?
Three areas are having a big impact on compliance training − instructional design, technology and bite-size learning. These developments are in response to what learners want – and even demand. That is, to be trained in ways that help them perform their jobs more efficiently, effectively and ethically. Employees want to visibly experience how laws, regulations, policies and issues apply to their everyday work lives.
What are some of the instructional design elements that are improving the visual and overall experience of compliance training?
I’m a big proponent of integrating interactive stories and simulations that immerse learners in realistic situations. For example, in our Code of Conduct training, we dramatize a possible antitrust violation by showing two salespeople from competing firms talking about a way to improve their individual profits. How the story unfolds depends on how learners respond to the characters’ interaction. This technique lets learners see both the appropriate way to handle the situation, and the consequences of making the wrong decision.
Technology is changing every industry. What are some of the advances that have improved the quality of compliance training?
First, technology has enabled better access and user experience. Having greater bandwidth has allowed organizations to deliver compliance training over the internet, making it much more accessible to employees, wherever they’re working. Evolving technologies such as HTML5 have made it easier and more cost-effective to use high-end animations, audio and video to create more meaningful, user friendly experiences, such as interactive video stories.
And of course, the ability to deliver training on a wide range of devices – from desktops to tablets to smartphones – encourages a higher level of employee participation, which is essential for managing risk and creating an ethical workplace. From an administrative standpoint, learning management systems have come a long way. LMSs can now record and analyze user performance data to identify knowledge and skill gaps.
As you mentioned, bite-size learning or microlearning has been a growing trend for several years. What are its main advantages?
The notion that compliance training should consist of one or two-hour sessions that take place once a year no longer works. With bite-size learning we can address shrinking attention spans, packed work schedules and the need for continuous education in a format that learners recognize and enjoy.
For example, topics like sexual harassment or conflicts of interest can be covered in a series of five-minute episodes, with a host who introduces each topic and frames the issues. This bite-size approach to complex topics helps learners understand and absorb the information faster and retain it longer.
How do you see gamification evolving, along with other developments in assessments and quizzes?
When it’s done right, gamification can motivate learners, hold their attention, clarify difficult concepts and provide a fun way to practice what they are learning. By presenting assessments and quizzes as challenges, with scores and leaderboards, you can create a positive, competitive environment.
Research supports it. A 2014 survey on gamification by TalentLMS found that 89% of respondents said that point systems boost their engagement; 82% preferred multiple, difficulty levels and explorable content; and 62% said they were motivated to learn if leaderboards were involved and they had the opportunity to compete with other colleagues.
So, instead of focusing on “right” or “wrong” answers, gamification involves learners in the material in deeper ways that can help retention and, importantly, change behavior.
In Part II, Anil shares other learning strategies to solve the problem of ‘boring’ compliance training, and discusses how his team applies customer and end-user surveys to drive product improvement.