4 Ways to Say ‘No’ to Boring Compliance Courses

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“That compliance course was fun!”

How often have you heard learners say that? Well, hardly ever.

Compliance courses are a way of educating employees on rules, regulations and organizational policies that apply to an employee’s day-to-day job responsibilities. Compliance training is the top priority for all organizations; however, it doesn’t usually excite the learners. The first thing that comes to one’s mind when they hear about online compliance courses is “long hours of content download.” These courses remain in the to-do list of employees until the deadline to take them looms large. Though organizations need to ensure that employees complete these trainings, employees do not enjoy taking the courses and hence effective knowledge transfer doesn’t happen.

So how do you make compliance courses exciting in a way that can make the employees ‘want’ to take them rather than ‘have’ to? Here are four easy strategies that you can use.

  1. Assess your Learners

One type of design approach won’t be suitable for all your learners. Some learners would have taken the course earlier so they may prefer to look at only the new content. On the other hand, some learners could be beginners and need to go through the entire training. So, to devise an appropriate learning strategy that works best, assess all learners before providing them with the content. You can do this by creating a pre-test which will help determine if a learner needs only a part of the course or the entire training. You can then categorize the information as ‘must-know,’ ‘good-to-know’ and ‘nice-to-know,’ and use this to create effective design and development strategies.

  1. Create Smaller Content Bites

Often compliance training intimidates learners because of its duration. Creating small, bite-sized, stand-alone chunks as micro-learning nuggets will give learners the freedom of starting and completing the training as per their convenience. Learners can take the course while commuting or as a breather between their routine work tasks.

  1. Make it Device Friendly

Today, when everything is “mobile”, you can’t limit online learning to desktops only. Employees prefer training material that can be accessed on-the-go. Making compliance training accessible on mobile devices will help ease out the burden associated with it; learners don’t necessarily need to fit the courses during their workday but can complete them in their spare time.

  1. Make it Fun!

Think of ways to make the courses engaging and fun for learners. You can use one or a combination of the following strategies:

  • Adding a Character: Include a character or an avatar in your compliance course to make it more relatable, interactive, and engaging. Choose a character that learners can relate to and use it effectively to guide through the training material.
  • Adding Videos: Create an engaging experience by integrating videos that enhance/supplement the content. The videos can have senior management reinforcing the value of complying with policies, or can be created using illustrations or images and stylized text with a powerful audio narration.
  • Storytelling: Who doesn’t like stories? Stories have the power to stimulate interest and retention even in the case of compliance courses. Based on the sensitivity of the topic, you could create a fictional story and add characters that relate to the topic as well as the learners. Your stories can be humorous, surprising or emotional. A well-written story has the power to hook learners to any kind of course.
  • Adding Scenarios: Scenarios provide a realistic context to learners to help rehearse the relevant skills in a simulated environment. Create challenging scenarios that learners can connect with and think about “how they would react” to a given situation.
  • Gamifying it: We all love playing games. You could create informative games for your compliance courses that are also relevant to the training context. Include activities and tasks for learners that they must perform, keeping in mind the organization’s policies and procedures. Creating compliance courses as games where learners take up new challenges, earn rewards or tokens to qualify to the next level will make learners look at these course as a fun activity.

These are some ways to make the online compliance courses more fun and interesting. Have you spiced up your compliance courses? What are some of the strategies that you used to make them engaging? Share your comments here.

6 Simple Ways to Develop an Eye for Detail

Image1“I love the way your team pays attention to details and picks up such little things that are easy to ignore,” said one of our clients on the call last evening, when we were discussing the project highlights. This annotation from the client, made me think about the importance of paying attention to details and its impact on the overall quality of the courses we create.

In the e-learning industry, quality is one of the biggest criteria that helps an organization stand out amongst others. Everyone involved in the project is responsible to ensure the courses delivered are free from not only the obvious issues (technical and/or functional), but also the small things that require a keen eye to detail.

According to author and media expert Michael Levine, the biggest problems in any business arise from ignoring the smallest of detail. And as an instructional designer, I believe that paying attention to details should be put into practice right from the beginning of the project. Even the minutest of the things, if carefully looked at, right from the start, can help reduce errors, increase efficiency and enhance the finishing of the final product.

However, it’s not as simple as it sounds; paying attention to details is a skill that needs to be acquired and just like other skills, it requires a conscientious practice.

 

Here are 6 simple ways to develop an eye for detail:

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1. Research before you begin: Do some study before you start a new assignment. For example, get to know your customers, their preference of language, writing styles, graphics, color schemes, and do not hesitate to ask detailed questions. The more thorough you are while asking questions in the beginning, the better it is for the project at later stages.

2. Make friends with checklists: Checklists come very handy when you have to work on multiple projects simultaneously, with each project following different standards. These are effective little tools that help you improve your attention to detail by keeping a track of what you might otherwise miss. The habit of creating checklists pays off well.

3. Use MS Office tools: MS Office tools are your saviors for many small slips, like typos, inconsistent formatting of your bullets, different capitalization method for the section headers in your document and inconsistent spellings (for example, e-learning vs eLearning). These negligible slips may not be seen up-front but give clients an opportunity to form a not-so-good impression about your work. MS Office tools can help you fix these slips to a great extent. For example, F7 can check spellings for you, Ctrl+Shift+C and Ctrl+Shift+V can be used to apply same format across all pages and Find and Replace option can help in maintaining consistent writing styles.

4. Review your work: Review your documents a couple of times to ensure nothing looks out of place. If possible, have another pair of eyes review your work and provide feedback. It’s always good to invite another person’s perspective as it gives you an opportunity to think deeper on what you may not have previously considered.

5. Take a break: Yes! That’s right. Take a break, grab a coffee or go for a quick walk if you start losing focus or feel tired. If you continue working when you can barely concentrate, you will end up missing out on details. So, take some time out for yourself and resume work when you feel refreshed.

6. Do not rush: Take time to complete your work as speed induces errors. There are occasions when you have multiple deliverables in the same day or week. Plan your tasks as per priority so that you can give enough time to each deliverable without overlooking small things that may make a big difference.

 

And it doesn’t stop there. Learning how to pay attention to detail is a continuous exercise, even for people who have a keen eye to detail.

So, slow down… and start paying attention to details using these tips as your checklist, and let the quality of your work define you.

Any more suggestions/tips on how you can develop or improve upon this skill? Share your ideas here.