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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

E-learning for Compliance: A Value Proposition by Susan Wines

My guest blogger today is Susan Wines. Please be sure to check out her unique guest post. Guest posts are always welcome, please contact me. 

E-learning for Compliance: A Value Proposition

Does compliance training sound like a nasty medicine to you? Do you slog through the compulsory courses just to avoid the repercussions of noncompliance? Does it seem like you are required to certify your knowledge more often?

Compliance training is growing more important each year as industries face risk. Certifying that employees know the rules and they are up-to-date in specialty training is essential. As proof, the role of the compliance officer has been moving steadily toward the c-suite.

Compliance training is not just to enforce corporate policies. Licensed professionals are often required to continue their education. Governments and industry entities create regulations for certified or licensed professions to ensure that the industry remains trusted.

Compliance training has to follow specific criteria, but it does not have to be dull. The key is to know your audience. Is there a diverse range of education, age, or cultures? Start with their level of education.  Shorter sentences and plain speaking works well for a variety of trainee backgrounds. 

Teaching to a wide variety of learners means finding a common language and familiar procedures, but it does not mean dumbing down. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that the average U.S. citizen reads at a seventh-grade level. Many experts caution trainers to write for a fifth-grade audience to avoid being misunderstood. Think of books recommended for fifth graders. Do you think anyone reading these novels felt patronized by these authors?
  •         The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling 
  •         A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle 
  •         The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The answer is no. They have a wide audience of adults with above-average reading, as well as real fifth graders. 
Our challenge as compliance trainers is not just to teach, but to meet regulations. Sometimes the requirements are specific and, thus, challenging to design. At Checkpoint Learning (Thomson Reuters), we create courses that meet continued professional education (CPE) standards set by each U.S. state that licenses accountants (CPAs). We are certified to be a sponsor of the industry’s standard bearer, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). One course standard is that study question feedback must be unique for each answer. It is not acceptable to have general feedback. We write to a level higher than the fifth grade, of course, as our target audience grasps topics that many of us agree are unintelligible, such as the U.S. tax code.

While we write, technically review, and ensure that the course meets certification standards, we also employ methods to make our courses more interactive; which help to keep the user engaged and learning. We start with a minimum number of pictures, click to reveal objects, Flash/Raptivity interactivities, Audio, and Video by screen count. We then study what knowledge is most important to impart (hint: we also test for that!) and devise activities that enhance these passages. We strive to include scenarios and stories (examples), as they resonate with the learner's real experience.

We know that compliance training provides value for the organization that needs specific standards to be maintained, and, in turn, that protects both the organization and the learner. How can we appeal to that learner so that the knowledge is embraced? Let's segment target audience  this time by career level.

For instance, executives value broader business aspects, such as shareholder's interest, addressing legal risk and liability, and employment engagement. Managers look for efficiencies from standardization, streamlining, and staying current. They also value a good safety record and an opportunity to increase profits. Professionals want to stay current in their field to increase their value to their clients. Efficiencies help them save money, which keeps them competetive. Employees, too, want efficiencies, safety, and clear goals. I believe they all want promotional opportunities. Base your examples and scenarios on your audience's values, and you will have the buy-in you need for successful compliance training.

Susan Wines, an expert at eLearning course creation, is associated as an eLearning Specialist with Thomson Reuters. She finds authors (subject matter experts), applies instructional design principles to course content, improves courseware processes, trains internal teams worldwide, troubleshoots, publishes, and also engages in social media. She is an expert in HTML, XML usage, interactive learning content creation using flash/HTML5, and videos—even whiteboard. Susan and her team investigate, experiment, collaborate, and continually roll out improvements and new products that delight their customers.
Susan is also an active member of the Interactive Learning Thought Leaders Panel on Raptivity. You may like to check out her detailed profile here.

Many thanks to Susan Wines.
Enjoy your reading!