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How to create and measure compliance courses that work

Steps to building an outcome-driven learning experience.

Ryan O'Connell Chief Operating Officer

How to create and measure compliance courses that work

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We often hear that the problem with (most) compliance training is that it isn’t engaging. While this is one of the problems with compliance training, it’s not the only issue. 

A far bigger problem is that most compliance courses do little to change behaviours within an organisation. Despite huge increases in spend on compliance awareness training, high profile issues still occur.

In many of the ethics breaches that made the news, it was found that the perpetrators did, in fact, complete their mandatory ethics training - several times. So what was the purpose of the training? Was it simply there as a box-ticking exercise? An insurance policy to limit the company’s liability in the event of a breach? 

Let’s look at how compliance training should be developed to deliver tangible and measurable results. 

Measuring compliance training effectiveness

Most compliance training will fall at the first hurdle: measuring effectiveness. If you ask people how to measure whether or not compliance training was effective, common answers include completion rates, assessment scores or user feedback - but these are wrong.

Compliance training should focus on the end result. What is it you’re trying to change or improve in your organisation as a result of this training? 

Following the model below, you’ll start by setting out the objectives and then define the measures to prove whether the objective was met. Some examples of objectives for compliance training include:

  • Health and Safety training: reduce number of accidents in the warehouse
  • COVID-19 return to office course: reduce number of COVID infections at work
  • GDPR training: increase number of Subject Access Requests completed on time
  • Risk training: Increase number of risks entered in the risk register
  • Ethics and Conduct course: Reduce number of ethics breaches that result in a fine

By using objectives as the measure of success for compliance courses, you’ll be focusing on what truly matters to your organisation.

Changing behaviours

How do you change behaviours through compliance training? Behavioural science offers a lot of answers, and the model that fits best when designing learning experiences is the COM-B model. This suggests that there are three behaviour blockers that each need to be overcome in order to change behaviours:

Capability - people don’t know how to do something or they lack the skills to behave in a certain way.

Opportunity - whether resources, environment and processes are set up to enable certain behaviours

Motivation - whether people understand the importance or impact of certain behaviours.

Different blockers require different learning experiences - for example capability blockers can be resolved through learning pathways, resources and searchable content can resolve opportunity blockers and you can improve motivation through things like passionate stakeholder videos and other similar content.

You can use a table to map current behaviours, desired behaviours and what the blockers that prevent desired behaviours from happening are. You can then design the learning experience or compliance course that will drive your desired behaviours.

Download this table to see an example of how you can set out objectives, define measures, track behaviour changes and design the learning experience that will lead to positive outcomes.

>> Download your free template to build outcome-driven learning experiences

How does an LXP support effective compliance training?

Many people think a traditional Learning Management System (LMS) is the best way to house and deliver compliance training, but a Learning Experience Platform (LXP) is actually perfect for outcome-driven compliance training.

An LXP is great at surfacing microlearning, searchable and applicable at the point of need. Instead of an hour long SCORM elearning course on GDPR that sits on an LMS, you can create a pathway of related content all about data protection and GDPR within your organisation. And when a user receives a Subject Access Request, they can simply search their LXP for “Subject Access Request” and find the content that tells them specifically how to handle it. 

They are learning in the flow of work, and your compliance learning experience contributes to higher levels of behaviour change.

And learners can learn in any order - they can find the pieces most relevant to them and consume them first, and revisit the content over again until they retain the information.

User Generated Content is also a great way to build a culture of compliance. For example, asking users to share their top tips on keeping data secure means that everyone is involved in activating their learning and therefore behaviours are more likely to change. With these higher levels of engagement, you’ll see a correlation with improved results.

That’s it! How we believe compliance courses should evolve. If you want to find out more, have a watch of this 20-minute webinar recording, where I break each element down and talk through the steps to measure performance-driven compliance training.

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