Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Pedagogic Overview of Compliance Training


Compliance training is probably the fastest-growing corporate e-learning application. Given the increasing regulatory and corporate focus on compliance, this sector is likely to remain one of the most important corporate e-learning applications during the next few years. This paper attempts to define the pedagogical needs of compliance training and propose instructional strategies for creating an effective compliance training program.

Structural Deconstruction

As the first step towards defining the pedagogical needs of compliance training, let us look at the components of such training.

Challenges Posed by Compliance Training

Compliance training poses a unique set of challenges derived from the nature of the discipline. The principal goal of such training is for learners to be able to apply rules to real-life situations. For this, they may need to recollect the rules as well as spot problems in realistic situations.  


Typically, the main thrust of compliance training is to expose, correct and minimize failure modes (i.e., situations in which the laws, rules and policies are not appropriately applied). The following are the types of failure and success modes.

Instructional Design Strategies for Compliance Training

Given the components and challenges of Compliance training, we recommend deployment of an appropriate blend of Instructional Design strategies for effective compliance training. The following are some of the key strategies that may be deployed.

Scenario-Based Learning

In this paradigm, learners are immersed in work situations and required to make decisions at various steps. They learn concepts by participating in scenarios and receiving feedback on their decisions. 

This feedback can be prescriptive or include expert/practitioners perspectives. This is a highly effective Instructional Design approach in the compliance context, especially for first time learners.  


Case-Based Learning 

In this paradigm, learners are presented with real cases of non-compliance and are expected to analyze these at various levels. 

This is also a very effective Instructional Design approach, especially for returning users who have been trained in the basic concepts earlier. It requires a higher degree of application of rules to situations as compared to the first strategy of scenario-based learning. 


Games-Based Learning

In this paradigm, learners are required to compete to achieve a game-based result. They could compete against a standard or against each other. The learning occurs as part of the competitive process. This is a highly effective Instructional Design approach that helps increase motivation levels in learners.

Daily Learning / Incident Based 

In this paradigm, the learner is pushed (through e-mail or PDA) 3-5 minute modules on a daily or other periodic basis. This content can be a mix of concepts and current/relevant events. 

Content pushed in this manner ensures learner attention on a regular basis while avoiding a possibility of information overload. It also helps build a culture of compliance in the organization, by making it a part of the daily work life of employees. 

Just-in-Time Learning 

Learning is most effective when it is delivered when people need it. In this paradigm, learners access a learning centre on an as-needed-basis to obtain access to courses, Top 10 Lists, FAQs, Documents, News items and Expert Perspectives. This is another very effective way to build a culture of compliance in the organization. 


The principal need of Compliance Training is for the learners to be able to apply rules to situations. For this to happen, learners need to recollect rules, interpret them and spot instances of non-conformance to these rules in scenarios and cases. In order to serve these pedagogical needs effectively, we recommend using a combination of several instructional and delivery strategies, such as scenario or case based learning and periodic or JIT delivery mechanisms. 


This paper was authored by Mahboob Mahmood, CEO of Knowledge Platform and Puja Anand, CEO, Learning Solutions, Knowledge Platform. 

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