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5 Ways Adaptive Learning Improves Compliance Training

Choosing the right compliance training can be a tricky business for organisations.

After all, compliance training is a big investment in the future of the company. Undertrained or disengaged staff can leave themselves and the company at risk of damage, injury, or legal action; and the cost, timeliness, and effectiveness of the training on offer all affect the company’s return on investment — a tall order for any risk owner/compliance manager to fill.

Sadly, compliance training is not too popular inside many companies. Often met with groans and eye-rolls, the recurring requirement to train and re-train in compliance subjects can feel redundant for employees, particularly longstanding ones who may have completed the same (or similar) training year after year before.

There are usually two issues at play when employees have a negative impression of their compliance training:

1) They feel their time is being devalued. This occurs when new or useful information is buried under repetitive knowledge that the user has encountered previously and already comprehends.

2) The learning content itself is dull – often overly legislatively focused – rather than practical and relevant to the job at hand and day-to-day working practices of employees.

In both of these scenarios, it’s hard for compliance training to be effective because members of staff simply aren’t engaged with it; an issue adaptive learning was developed to tackle.

Adaptive eLearning explained

Commonly, users complete what the learning industry calls ‘linear compliance training’. Using this type of training content, learners progress through various compliance topics in sequence, usually completing a quiz of sorts at the end of each section.

The approach works by presenting users with quantities of information and asking them to absorb enough to complete the training with an acceptable pass rate. Each user has access to the same information, and each user must pass to the same minimum standard (or else re-take the test in most cases).

Adaptive learning, on the other hand, works rather differently. Here, diagnostic tests are performed early in the training process, determining whether employees really need to refresh previous learning content or if, indeed, their time would be better spent on other areas of compliance where a knowledge gap has been uncovered.

In other words, an adaptive learning curriculum is individualised. It changes depending on the learner and the specific areas of compliance they need most support with.

Using this method, there’s no need to ‘punish’ users with constant re-takes for forgetting small pieces of information (not when that can be fixed with a 2-minute microlearning intervention!) and your diverse knowledge base of learners aren’t all subjected to the same lengthy courses every year (not if they don’t need to be, anyway).

Learning experience platforms (LXPs)

Smart LXPs (like our own Astute platform) are optimised for adaptive learning, and work by collecting information before, during, and after each learning intervention and storing it inside a personal learning record store (LRS) unique to each user.

As each learner continues to complete more diagnostic assessments and training, then, an intelligent platform can identify not only areas in need of refresher training, but also the type of learning content the user seems to benefit most from (e.g., microlearning, gamified courses, or scenario-based learning).

In other words, adaptive learning platforms dynamically adapt to the employee’s role and performance, determining learning journeys for the best learning results rather than simple box-ticking, and offering real-time risk mitigation wherever knowledge gaps are uncovered.

Here’s 5 ways adaptive compliance training benefits your business:

1. Increased ROI

Training is designed to add value to your business, not detract from it.

Adaptive learning offers great ROI because it allows organisations to claw back time spent on unnecessary compliance training in the past, i.e., knowledge that employees already have and don’t need to revise.

Furthermore, since using a smart LXP means most learning content is deployed automatically, the amount of time spent on learning administration is also reduced.

Reducing training time can save companies hundreds of hours per year, allowing employees to get on with the job at hand whilst still encouraging motivation for training and engagement. The result? More productive, better-informed employees.

2. Ease of use

Adaptive learning happens automatically and with minimum human intervention, so it’s a great tool for Learning and Development Managers to utilise as it affords them more time to focus on their goals and the success of their employees.

What’s more, adaptive learning can be rolled out quickly, with minimum hassle, and in direct response to any key-risk areas identified – so it’s useful for organisations that want to remain agile and responsive.

3. Improved knowledge retention

We know by now that knowledge retention rests with high engagement levels – and this is another area where adopting an adaptive learning approach is beneficial.

Adaptive learning doesn’t devalue employee time by forcing staff to complete unnecessary training. This means it has the added benefit of increased morale and commitment when it comes to training activities. After all, we are much more likely to engage with information we don’t already know, rather than speed-reading through content that feels old hat.

Additionally, by utilising and suggesting a variety of learning styles – and, in particular, those learning styles that appeal to the individual user – adaptive learning can be used to increase knowledge retention by presenting learning content in the styles that best engage learners and which obtain the best results for them.

4. Avoids ‘box checking’ compliance

When employees are forced to complete or revise learning content simply so the company can ‘check off’ a compliance box it’s usually true that very little learning actually goes on. More than this, ‘checking the box’ when it comes to compliance sends a terrible message to your workforce – it says you don’t really care about the material and its content and, sadly, this is a message that can permeate the entire corporate culture.

Adaptive learning uses diagnostic assessments, however, which involves the learner in their own learning journey. Utilising this method, employees are aware that, when they’re asked to complete a learning intervention, it’s because of a particular and real knowledge gap that has been uncovered – it’s not because the company requires them to do so to tick a box.

In turn, this speaks to a true culture of compliance, one built on trust and mutual respect, where employees can take ownership for their own skills gaps and complete learning journeys in their own time.

To find out more about building a compliance culture, download our free eBook, How to Create a Compliance Culture.

5. Allows for frequent updates

Traditional linear approaches to eLearning can’t always accurately track what people have learnt or haven’t – and they don’t adjust to this information even if they could. Of course, this makes it difficult to add new learning material without making employees re-take the whole course (which wouldn’t go down well, as you can imagine)!

Adding new material as an addendum is an option, of course, or creating short, microlearning courses with additional information might work, but this can confuse new learners, for whom these additions would feel out of context. To avoid this, companies often limit the number of updates, but that delays new information getting out to the employees and can leave eLearning courses lacking important updates for too long.

The solution, once again, is adaptive learning. When changes to the course are introduced, the system can differentiate between material a learner has already covered and new areas ready to be studied. Adaptive learning also provides the ability to incrementally author content, releasing the highest-priority subjects first and then adding new content to the system.

Final word

Adaptive compliance training has huge benefits for organisations, from next next level ROI, to improved engagement, and helping to build a compliance culture. We hope this article has helped our readers understand how to boost their compliance training program and get the best value from their training solution. However, if there’s anything we can help you with, or if you wish to explore our own adaptive learning offering, please do get in touch via email or phone. We’re always more than happy to help.

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