November 20, 2017

In Part II, Anil D’Souza, Traliant’s Vice President of Learning, shares his views on some strategies to solve the problem of ‘boring’ compliance training, and discusses how his team applies customer and end-user surveys to drive product improvement.

The common complaint against compliance training is that it’s dull and boring. How did it get that reputation?

Unfortunately, that’s a valid and real complaint. We’ve all seen one-size-fits-all compliance courses that aren’t designed for the individual learning requirements of a diverse workforce.  Text-heavy definitions, historical backgrounds, verbatim quotes from laws and regulations, and some quizzes thrown in for good measure − no surprise employees complain. The training doesn’t connect with their actual experiences, and it doesn’t motivate people to change their behavior.

So, how do you break out of that ‘boring’ tradition?

It may sound obvious, but the goal of compliance training is not to make employees experts in the law, so why spend so much time on it?  Training should focus on general compliance principles and preparing employees to spot issues and unethical or illegal behavior and to respond appropriately and report it.

What are some of the learning strategies you’ve found to be most effective in designing compliance training?

Having spent 20 years in the industry, it’s essential to adapt learning formats and styles to meet the needs of a changing workforce.  For example, the growing segment of millennial learners respond best to training that provides a relevant, familiar and appealing experience. Watching Netflix, Hulu or Amazon TV is a lot more enjoyable than enduring a typical lecture-based, information-overloaded online compliance course.

Using the model of the online streaming services, we design learning content as episode-based video series that incorporate familiar news show formats. It’s a lot easier for learners to identify and connect with ethical principles and compliance concepts when they’re presented as human interest video stories, on-the-street interviews, special reports, viewer mailbag and Twitter segments. And each episode has its own assessment and scoring to keep learners motivated as they progress through the training.

One of your signature instructional design elements is the “what would have happened” challenge in the interactive videos. How does that work?  

Real-life workplace situations conversations we have, actions we take can produce many  possible outcomes. All of which have consequences to the individuals and their organizations.

We simulate that experience by engaging learners in videos that depict characters in typical work situations that have a range of possible paths and outcomes. Employees interact with the storyline, spot issues and make decisions about actions the characters should take. Learners are later shown “what would have happened” if they had chosen alternate path or paths.

By challenging employees to choose how a story should end, they can immediately see the effect of right and wrong decisions and have an opportunity to examine and change their own attitudes and behavior.  

At the end of every Traliant course, customers and end users are asked to fill out a short survey. Can you share some survey results and tell us how you incorporate that feedback?

At this point, thousands of end users have taken our surveys,  and the results have shown that, overwhelmingly, users enjoy the training.  Over 90% have rated us 4 out of 5 stars or better, with an average user rating of 4.7. This is a promising sign that our instructional design is working.

Of course, not all feedback is positive. We’re especially interested in the critical responses we get from users since they help us continuously improve existing products and improve the design of products in the pipeline. For example, as a result of end user feedback, we now provide learners with rankings and badges at the end of their training. And we’re designing a leaderboard system that will show how individuals rank against their peers. This allows managers to incentivize employees with rewards for high performance.