So I received the dreaded brown envelope in the post.
It transpired that I had been caught driving at 82mph on a dual carriageway.
My first reaction, naturally, was one of indignation. Everyone has driven at 82mph on a dual carriageway, I’m not a bad driver, they should send that bloke that pulled out right in front of me the other day on this course instead. A couple of minutes passed of me being annoyed, followed by a feeble attempt to come up with some creative but rather implausible excuses before I accepted the inevitable.
Arriving at the course I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t think I needed the training or think that I would actually learn anything new or useful.
It struck me that this is probably exactly the same way many people feel when they are assigned mandatory eLearning. The feeling of ‘this is a waste of time’, ‘I won’t learn anything’ and ‘what even is the purpose of this other than to tick a box?’
The fact is that we all consider ourselves good people, the same way we all consider ourselves good drivers. Yet we all make mistakes. Sometimes we might not know as much as we think.
Much to my surprise I walked away from my Speed awareness course pleasantly surprised that I’d actually learnt a few things and understanding the value. I shook the trainer’s hands, thanked them, and walked out smiling. He hadn’t been that bad, some parts could actually be useful, I learnt a few things that were both interesting and practical. The trainers were lovely and clearly knew what they were talking about, and most importantly, I didn’t feel patronised or blamed.
If done right way the same is possible with online compliance training. But if it’s not, people feel patronised, bored and as if their time has been wasted.
So how can we turn a learner’s mind-set around. Make their compliance training genuinely useful maybe even finish a course with a smile? Here are a few things that, on reflection I thought made the biggest impact with my driver awareness course that could also apply well with eLearning.
1. Start with the assumption that your audience are intelligent and will already know many of the basics
It’s the simple things, like saying ‘yes you already know the basics and have lots of experience so we’ll just summarise really quickly then move onto the interesting stuff’. Rather than making the learners sit through a very slow voiceover they can’t skip past. Sure, it’s good to allow the learners to view all the basics, but let them skip on to the more advanced content quickly once they are sure they have understood these.
2. Ask Questions, create curiosity ask for a guess
If you tell me something straight off there is a good chance I may not be interested. Ask me an interesting question first and I’ll positively seek out the answer. In the case of my course we were asked how many people are killed in road traffic incidents. Take a guess? I won’t tell you my guess, but I can tell you I was miles out!
3. War Stories – The time it went wrong
For me, remembering figures and statistics is near impossible in the long term. I can cram my mind with facts for a couple of days before an exam or meeting, soon to be forgotten. Yet, I rarely forget a story, even years later.
It might be a technique as old as time, but I’m a firm believer in good stories being one of the most powerful tools we have in training and especially eLearning.
4. Provide useful shortcuts
3rd gear at 30 and 4thgear at 40 is a quick and easy moto I would have to try hard to forget. Yet apparently in modern cars it’s not only very fuel efficient, it will stop you accidently going over the speed limit. A simple memorable and practical piece of advice I could (and did) put into practice.
Are there simple shortcuts you can give you learners to make it easier for them to behave the right way? Are there even benefits they could get from following these easy methods?
5. Make people see another perspective.
Do you know why some signs in the UK are set on a yellow background? In fact do you know why warning signs are put up at all?
I hadn’t given much thought to it, but, if pressed on the issue I guess I thought it was just because some health and safely obsessed bod at the council had too much time on his hands.
It probably should have been obvious, but most warning signs are only put up reactively after someone has been seriously injured or killed. A yellow background indicates multiple casualties. It’s a simple piece of information, but it has certainly changed the way I look at warning signs.
Are there simple reasons behind your compliance procedures that could change a learner’s perspective? A real life case study within the company or industry that can make it if real for them?
Compliance training is never going to be anyone’s favourite thing, but there are plenty of things you can do to make it a more useful and positive experience.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!