“Wrap-around” compliance training – use existing resources and focus your e-learning development on what truly adds value

I’m often amazed at the sophistication and quality of existing guidelines and other resources available to staff in organisations. Yet, often we are told that these resources aren’t used as well as they should.

We have had a number of clients ask us if perhaps an e-learning module could help. The answer is yes, but it is important to really understand why people are being trained and what this training would be about before diving into a typical compliance training development.

ACFID1Take the ACFID (Australian Council for International Development) Code of Conduct for Australian NGOs.

This Code is a self-regulatory sector code of good practice used by hundreds of NGOs in Australia, including their internationally based staff. A Guidance document helps people get their heads around the Code and how it is used in practice. ACFID also runs one-day face-to-face training sessions to help organisations implement the principles and obligations in their own context.

With a geographically spread target group and a need to offer support more flexibly, an e-learning module about the Code is indeed a great way to complement the various ways in which ACFID assists its members. People who are unable to (or prefer not to) attend the face-to-face workshop and need extra support to use it in their own work can do the e-learning module instead.

The starting point was the face-to-face workshop. I attended one to find out exactly how this workshop added value to the information available in the Code and Implementation Guide. I wrote down all the questions asked by delegates because these helped me understand what people find hard. I wrote down the stories that were shared during that day and contacted a few delegates later on to get more in-depth information. And most of all it gave me ideas as to what triggers the learning.

Together with the ACFID subject matter expert I fine-tuned the real-life stories and developed scenarios for the e-learning module. These scenarios are now being used in the face-to-face training as well.

So what does the end product look like?

It’s a 2 hour self-paced module that uses a mix of narration, instant feedback activities and scenarios to create an engaging learning environment. When learners work through the module they need to keep the Code and the Guidance handy as they are being asked to consult these continuously.

We didn’t cover all the content in the e-learning module, far from it! Why would we?

The 50-page Code contains all the principles and obligations. The existing 100-page Implementation Guide is well written, nicely structured, and full of examples. Covering it all in an e-learning module would be useless duplication and would require a big budget – which wasn’t available and wasn’t necessary either.

Instead, we focused on developing an inspiring “taster” – convincing and getting buy-in from the users that the Code is in fact full of really useful advice. We also made it much more exciting. Stories and real-life scenarios are a great way to help people digest compliance documents.

No need to turn the whole lot into an e-learning module though… that would defy the purpose. The aim is to get people to keep the Code and Implementation Guide on their desk and use them in the same way in their day-to-day work.

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