Friday, 12 September 2014

Failure to Comply in Seven Simple Steps

There are plenty of ways you can use learning systems and environments in organisations from a pay-per-view commercial site to a full blown internal LMS with performance management, development plans and a wide range of activities to encourage pervasive learning culture.  In all that activity it's sometimes easy to forget one of the most fundamental features and key drivers for organisations; compliance. 

Compliance is often seen as a dirty word in learning technologies; a push of 'tick the box' training on systems that just provide the boxes.  What we need to remember is that many organisations are compliance driven because of the nature of work they do; those same standards we as consumers rely upon to provide us the assurances we need.  The key from a learning technologies perspective is to put as much effort into the compliance environment as goes into the forming of the standards that need to be complied with.  So if you really want to fail to setup a really good compliance portal try these mistakes:

1.  Design your system purely from the perspective of ticking off compliance
There's no need to worry about the user experience is there?  So what if it takes them time to find what needs to be done and navigate around the learning.  Single sign-on?  Why bother, just another step or two won't hurt them because it's all about the organisation getting the reports they need.  The system doesn't need to look good, the content can be boring, they've just got to get through it. 

2.  Just get the info in as quick as possible, you can always sort it later
Sure it might be helpful to be able to discriminate between users, functions, geographical location and even competencies but this is just about simple compliance so name and ticks will do fine.  Automation might seem like the way ahead, but it takes time to setup and your time is precious so just get everyone in the system, the managers can sort it all out once the results are in.

3.  Have plenty of administrators
Great idea to have lots of people with high powers in the system; that way you can spread the work right?  Ignore the naysayers who suggest that it becomes harder to control the system and guarantee that the training has actually been completed by everyone.  In fact don't bother with setting up custom roles to guarantee the integrity of your data, a bunch of admins who can do everything will solve any issues you may have.

4.  Don't design your system with end reporting in mind
It's much simpler to just grab a standard report out the system.  With plenty of admins one of them can probably manipulate data to give you what you need.  Dashboards and customised reports take time and effort to put together and much easier to just tack those sort of things on at the end eh?

5.  Make sure access is restrictive and there are enough hoops to jump through to call the system secure
Don't listen to any of that newfangled thinking suggesting that learning is pervasive.  Compliance is about making people sit down in a controlled environment (if you can make them suffer too all the better) so you can ensure they battle their way through the system.  Compliance is just about making sure they know the standards verbatim, not about applying that and certainly not in the comfort of their own homes!

6.  Don't cater for on-job or other opportunities to demonstrate compliance
Carrying on from 5, compliance is all about knowledge not application so why would you waste time providing opportunities to demonstrate what people can do on the job when a simple tick-box quiz will show they get it.  70/20/10 type thinking has no place in compliance it's 100% doing what you're supposed to.

7.  Keep participants in the dark
One thing people doing compliance training don't need to know is how they're doing.  Don't provide them feedback let alone a dashboard and only make sure you inform them when they've not achieve the level of compliance.  Customer satisfaction or learner participation is not required in this kind of training.  In fact you can just go straight from the training to disciplinary action and save time! 

In short failing with compliance is actually pretty straight forward if you don't plan your outcomes at the outset and don't take the needs of learners into account; hopefully it goes without saying that if you want to succeed do the exact opposite of the seven steps above and you'll have a compliance system that achieves its aims and leaves learners satisfied too (and yes, compliance-based training participants can be learners too).