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  • Richard Bistrong

Why all this hostility to compliance training?

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

The following article is written by Julian Fenwick, Managing Director, GRC Solutions,

The old methods of compliance don’t work anymore. That’s the general argument made in a white paper entitled The Future of Compliance Training written for the adaptive e-learning company Better.

We all understand the frustrations commonly associated with compliance training – the very frustrations that typically make audiences hostile towards this kind of enforced training. After all, compliance is a “bolt on”, a fixture that people have to apply on top of their day jobs.

Nobody really wants to do compliance training; it’s a mandatory feature of their work that takes time out of people’s work day to complete.

For large organisations, the opportunity costs associated with requiring employees to sit through compliance training can run into the millions. The resentment that employees may feel towards this mandatory training increases when the training is something they feel competent in – in particular if they have already undertaken the training in previous years.

But as noted in this video interview,  an adaptive learning ecosystem can bring the “employee and compliance department to a better place.” How?

By “personalizing the learning experience”, as I explain in the interview. Adaptive training identifies the learner’s knowledge gaps, upfront, through a rigorous pre-test and hence, only provides training on those gaps. Topic areas in which the learner  demonstrates competence are removed from that individual’s training requirements.

This approach helps to improve a learner’s speed to competence – the time within which an individual acquires proficiency in a topic area – by only giving them valuable information. It can trim training times by removing content that is redundant, repetitive, or a regurgitation of pre-acquired knowledge.

In the interview, I reference one of Better’s clients which requires 110,000 people worldwide to undertake anti-money laundering training in eight languages. That’s a mammoth effort by any reckoning, but it’s one that Better’s unique system handles easily.

These features are among the many reasons why GRC Solutions recently acquired Better. Better’s multi-language capability and the ease with which it enables clients to tailor content to their own workforce’s job roles and levels of learning makes, the system truly adaptive.

The learning methodology that underwrites Better’s platform pivots on “treating individuals with respect.”  As I observe, the focus on speed to competence means that employers can potentially cut out the basics from their workforce’s training, being content where competency has been demonstrated through ‘testing out.’ Accordingly, that allows concentration upon “more sophisticated information.”  The result-  less time and frustration, with more engagement and retention.

A strong case can be made that adaptive learning improves individual competence and memory retention. Not only that. It’s good for companies who insist that new starters learn the company’s particular way of doing things, even when such new hires have some acquired competence in the topics from elsewhere (like their former employer). And it’s good for employees who wish to deploy their time and efforts to learning new things rather than spend more time going over the same content, year in, year out.

From this perspective, adaptive learning doesn’t just neutralize traditional hostility towards compliance training; it provides a platform to positively engage employees.

To find out more about Adaptive Compliance Training, and GRC’s recent acquisition of Better Inc,  feel free to contact  Julian at


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